OPENurses first Nurse Luminary interview~ thoughts on psychedelic nursing

28 Jan 2021 advocacy, nursing, nursing praxis, psychedelic nursing

Today OPENurses started a long overdue conversation on YouTube with RN Karen Cooper and Elizabeth Willis, focusing on nursing in psychedelic research and therapy. Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy (PAT) and research has a long and sometimes dubious history. Many legal and social barriers to treatment remain, in various guises, around the globe. OPENurses is growing a community of practice to develop the unique role of the psychedelic nurse further. You can find OPENurses on Facebook- here.

Invisible but present

Nurses have been very present, but mostly invisible co-researchers and therapists. It is hard to find mention of psychedelic nursing contributions in the field. Dominique Denis-Lalonde and Andrew Estefan from the University of Calgary, recently published this fantastic article, looking at these dynamics and suggesting remedies. The article calls for the kind of leadership that OPENurses and the International Association of Psychedelic Nursing (IAPN) bring.

Psychedelic Assisted Therapy & South Africa in 2021

The only legal and practically accessible PAT in SA is ketamine (either therapeutically or medically provided). Ibogaine, because of it’s length of action and potential for serious cardiac side effects, absolutely needs fully equipped and skillful monitoring by a competent medical professional.

We have already had one known (and likely preventable) death from it’s illegal- unregistered- use. A dentist who owned an unregistered addiction clinic promoted and prescribed it as an addiction treatment. . A nurse allegedly administered the fatal dose. She was found not guilty by a court but it is unclear if the SA Nursing Council will still pursue misconduct charges against her. For more information watch the Carte Blanche investigation report- here. These kinds of incidents- before we even have a functioning PAT field- will not make it easier to build one. Check out PHATISA for more on SA therapy with psychedelics, or listen to Leonie Joubert at the cutting edge science podcast Psychonauts.

IntNSA South Africa, has a vision to further healing PAT in SA. We hope, together with others, to create a real presence* of nurses who will be felt in this growing healing field.

  • what is your favourite collective noun for nurses? A close second could be “a compassion of nurses”. Leave yours in the comments.

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About Catherine Williams

  • President of the Board of IntNSA South Africa
  • Registered Nurse (General, Psychiatry, Community Health), Registered Midwife
  • PG Dip in Addiction (UCT)
  • Studio III certified trainer
  • Trauma Therapy Professional (Spirit2Spirit Certified)
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