Poet highlights women as healers in ‘Wild Onion Nurse’ presentation

“Wild Onion Nurse,” by Judy Schaefer Credit: Radcliffe PublicationsAll Rights Reserved.

"Wild Onion Nurse: Women as Healers in Traditional and Contemporary Societies" will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State. The presentation, which is sponsored by the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge, the Department of Women’s Studies, the College of Nursing and the University Libraries, is free and open to the public, and also can be viewed online. The event will be followed by a reception in Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library, sponsored by the College of Nursing. All are invited and light refreshments will be available.

Speaker Judy Schaefer, a registered nurse and poet, will read nine poems from her 2010 Radcliffe publication, “Wild Onion Nurse,” highlighting a journey that follows the tradition of women as healers, sometimes ancient and sometimes contemporary, while reflecting upon the “indigenous self.” Schaefer, who is a member of The Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine, finds that poetry provides a way to produce art and to observe beyond the patient. She will read nine of her poems that demonstrate connection to the earth, to the indigenous-self and to each other in the healing process. Her hope is that these poems will demonstrate another way of knowing about pain and suffering, which are not the same. She says, "We can have pain and 'feel better.' We can move on. We can continue to help each other as we grow within ourselves." Judy argues that as we approach and discover our indigenous-self, we ourselves find healing.

Copies of “Wild Onion Nurse” will be available for purchase at the reception and Schaefer will be on hand to autograph them upon request. “Wild Onion Nurse” is Schaefer's most recent book. She edited the first biographical and autobiographical work of English speaking nurse-poets, “The Poetry of Nursing: Poems and Commentaries of Leading Nurse-Poets” and co-edited, with Cortney Davis, the first international anthology of creative writing by nurses, “Between the Heartbeats.” Schaefer has been published in journals such as Academic Medicine, The American Journal of Nursing and The Lancet and is poetry co-editor for “Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine.” She can be reached at

The presentation is part of an ongoing series highlighting the importance of indigenous knowledge. See ICIK, for more information, including links to past presentations on the speaker series.

For questions about the physical access provided, contact Helen Sheehy 814-863-1347 or in advance.

Judy Schaefer, a registered nurse and poet Credit: ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated January 10, 2015