Ways of Knowing™ Symposium: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing

Use of intuition in a hospital setting: Abbott Northwestern Hospital


Pat Vitale

Pat Vitale

Lori Knutson

Lori Knutson

Lori Knutson, RN, HN-BC, Executive Director IHH/SKRI, Allina Hospitals and Clinics;
Pat Vitale, Director Institute for Health and Healing, Allina Hospitals and Clinics

  • The Institute of Health and Healing, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, team talks about bringing intuition alive in a hospital setting, specifically how their healing teams, patients, and healthcare professionals integrate the gifts of the IHH into patient care.

Case Study: Abbott Northwestern

Lori Knutson, RN, HN-BC, Executive Director IHH/SKRI, Allina Hospitals and Clinics

The Institute for Health and Healing (IHH) provides integrative medicine at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, both for inpatients and at an outpatient clinic. Integrative medicine blends the best of conventional medicine with healing philosophies and a variety of healing therapies. These therapies, often drawn from other medical traditions, emphasize caring for the whole person and focus on healing as much as curing.

The Vision of IHH is: To transform health care, blending the art of healing and the science of curing, to optimize the health of the whole person—mind, body and spirit.

The Mission is:  To enhance the health of individuals, families and communities by stimulating and supporting integrative health care at ANW Hospital, its related institutions, and in the broader field of healthcare through patient services, education and research.

At IHH, teams provide care in different areas—inpatient, outpatient, and LiveWell fitness center.  The services of clinical care; education for patients, provider, and community; and research on both clinical and business outcomes; were designed to meet the demand by patients and providers alike for holistic care in a well-respected conventional center.

Culture change has been critical for such an institute to survive and thrive in a large, conventional health care environment.  Lori spoke to the role of intuition in this intentional creation of culture.  Intuition played a roll every step of the way—from choosing the agenda at an executive meeting to hiring providers.  She spoke about the importance of setting your intention, as you were guided, then letting go into the unknown—that is, not being attached to the outcome.

As a team of providers and administrators, they created the program by setting a clear and unified intention—creating a morphogenic field—which nurtured their vision.  They did skill development in the areas of energy work, spiritual connecting, trusting intuition.  Thus, the use of intuition was not just for clinical care but also for organizational and administrative work.  Utilizing intuition in this creation of culture requires the ongoing use of multi-sensory observation, assessment and evaluation, sense of timing that comes from lived experience, creation of language.

The team together created a blessing, which is used to open each day:

As we begin this workday, we invite spiritual support to guide us.
May we be clear channels to do our work with ease and grace,  keeping the patient’s highest good as primary.
May we remember our connection to the Earth, the Heavens, our inner knowing, to each other and to all sentient beings.
May we value time for self-care to replenish our own  energy reserves.
Whoever is referred is the right person.
Whatever work comes is the right work.
Whenever it happens is the right time.

Lori and Pat offered this as a closing thought:  “If the body is sick the mind worries and the spirit grieves; if the mind is sick the body and spirit will suffer from its confusion; if the spirit is sick there will be no will to care for the body or mind.

  • Ways of Knowing™: Exploring the Role of Intuition in Health & Healing Symposium