For nearly twenty years, I worked as a registered nurse in the field of home care and home hospice, where I had the privilege of caring for and developing relationships with human beings at the most vulnerable times of their lives. It is those relationships that greatly inform the work I do today.  

In 2013, I entered the classroom and the clinical setting as a Nurse Educator and again recognized the critical importance of developing compassionate relationships. I personally believe that, in the end, it's all relationships.


In 2016, I applied the concepts of fostering compassionate relationships and practicing self-reflection to create a course called Spiritual Health. Spirituality does not necessarily mean 'religious', but rather it refers to anything that brings meaning and purpose into a person's life, as well as what relationships are important to that individual.

By participating in a variety of engaging and experiential learning opportunities, students develop the skills necessary to provide compassionate care in a way that not only addresses the patient's spiritual needs, but fosters the student's own personal growth and reflection as well. This knowledge is then brought into the clinical setting so that nursing students can truly connect with those they care for, while building their own sense of self-identity and resilience.

I believe it is my soul's purpose to teach others to connect.... whether that be in the classroom, in the health care setting, or in our own personal lives.  For it is when we connect with compassion, that healing can begin.

I wish that every school involved with training our country’s future medical professionals would follow what Julie Lepianka is promoting. I wish that compassion and communication were the natural models because every one of us will face our own time in a hospital, whether as patients ourselves or watching over people we love dearly.

Rachel Clevenger, M. Ed, PhD,

Editor in Chief, Private University Products and News Magazine

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