Fifteen years ago, three nurses shared a vision about a new kind of health care. One that would strike a balance between medical science and healing arts. Kathryn Landon-Malone, a pediatric nurse practitioner, was one of the three. She says, “Once we started the process, we couldn’t stop.”
The process she refers to is the circle process, which promotes the following principles.
The Circle Process
- Speak from the heart, listen from the heart
- All voices deserve to be heard
- What is said in the circle, remains in the circle
- Be mindful of the impact of one’s thoughts, words, and actions before, during and after an interaction.
The circle of three grew as others caught wind of their ideas and before long it included doctors, nurses and other health professionals. They discussed “ways to introduce holistic medicine into traditional clinical settings.” Each meeting began with meditation and followed the circle process. Says Kathryn, “I believe in the power of the circle process to transform health care.”
Today, the power of the circle is the backbone of True North Health Center — the vision that became a reality. According to the history that is written on the True North web site, “Gradually, we began to focus on the need for a new center for good health, a place where passion for healing would merge with the values of acceptance, professionalism, and respect nurtured within our group.”
True North Health Center, which after five years of planning opened its doors in 2002, is physically located in Famouth, Maine, and is home to a group of both traditional and complementary practitioners. Kathryn, for instance, has a nursing degree from Purdue and a master’s degree in pediatric primary care from Indiana University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in a new field of study that examines the beginnings of health or disease in children. She is also certified in holistic nursing and is a trained pediatric hypnotherapist.
Kathryn says she spends at least one hour or more with each patient. “I want to look at the bigger picture, not just the body,” she explains. “I want to understand why this condition is here in the first place. I do a physical exam, but I also want to hear the whole story.”
Dr. Bethany Hays, True North’s medical director, agrees wholeheartedly that patients need a safe place they can go to tell their stories and that without realizing it, they will often come up with critical information. Instead of a condensed version or a list of symptoms, she asks patients to give her the long version. “It’s amazing,” she says, “how healing it can be to tell the whole story. As they tell it, they have insights. Listening to the patient is critical, it’s the most important part of healing.”
After 10 years of hearing patients stories, the original three and the practitioners who have joined them at True North, have cause for celebration. Currently, 14 physicians, advance practice nurses, mental health providers, and complementary practitioners practice at True North. In addition, 10 affiliate practitioners are based throughout the greater Portland area.
They invite you to help them celebrate by participating in a 5K Wellness Walk (and other fun things) this Thursday.
True North 5K Wellness Walk
Thursday, August 9, 5:30 p.m.
To and from Pine Grove School on Route 88 in Falmouth
Visit the True North web site or call 207.781.4488 for more information or to register.