Clifton Joullian- The Nurse Farmer
Clifton Joullian is The Nurse Farmer. He is an innovator who has intertwined his career as a nurse and a passion through helping others through farming. His story is fun and encourages us all to "dig in" to what we love and combine it with nursing and watch what blooms!
I chose a beautiful spot outside on this 72 degree day to write about this nurse innovator. It seemed fitting to be surrounded by blooming azaleas, periwinkle, dogwood trees and to hear the birds chirping while I introduce Clifton Joullian RN, BSN. His story is just plain cool! Clifton was a home health case manager for 20 years before transitioning into home health intake nurse recently. He has always had an interest in gardening, starting small with flower beds. Throughout the years his interest expanded to backyard farming and he began connecting this passion of farming into his nursing career and goals. If you are like me, you are wondering how the two passions fit together, read on!
Clifton Joullian is “The Nurse Farmer”. He connects his love of farming and nursing in a blog called The Farmdamentals of Nursing. “My mission as a nurse and a backyard farmer is to advocate and teach how farming and gardening are a means of health promotion and disease prevention from a holistic perspective, bodies, mind, and spirit.”
Farming promotes healthy bodies in a few ways. It increases physical activity and exercise and it also increases vegetable consumption. Evidence has shown that people who grow their own fruits and vegetables have a tendency to eat more fruits and vegetables. This is particularly true for children. Research has shown that children who grow their own vegetables are 5 times more likely to eat them! Clifton has been helping with his sons’ high school vegetable garden, teaching the students about the link between the foods we grow, how we grow them, and how they can have a positive impact on our health.
The Centers for Disease Control says, “Gardening is an excellent way to get physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death.” Gardening has been used in nursing and assisted living facilities as part of a physical rehab and stroke recovery program. For the elderly, it also increases hand strength and joint mobility.
Clifton refers to the emotional and mental benefits of gardening/ farming as a” natural antidepressant”. There have been studies to support this as well. Gardening leads to decreased cortisol levels and positive moods which can promote relief from acute stress. Being out of doors and working with the earth can provide mental clarity. There is also a boost in positive self-esteem and a feeling of reward that comes from seeing the literal fruits of your labor. Gardens have been used in communities to get people to work together for a cause. They have also been used in nursing homes to decrease aggression in patients with dementia and mental impairments. Clifton has been stretching outside of the virtual world to volunteer his services at a local church that needs his help with their garden. He is helping them grow vegetables that are being donated to an organization that feeds the homeless.
Clifton sees gardening as a means to promote spiritual health by helping us connect with others or even feel closer to God. Clifton read an article quoted some individuals who viewed their time working in their garden as their church time with God!
When asked about what has lead Clifton toward his innovative idea as The Nurse Farmer, he credits advancing his degree from ASN to BSN a few years ago. He learned how to research and write using evidence -based information which further advances his career goals as a nurse blogger and potential growth in his business. Clifton believes that one of the most important issues professional nurses must address in the next few years is to increase the number of baccalaureate-educated nurses. He argues that having a BSN “opens so many doors and exposes us to so many sides of nursing that maybe we didn’t know existed. Having a BSN is a tool that makes navigation in innovation that much easier!”
Clifton says he was also exposed to a whole new world of professional organizations, through his BSN, such as holistic nurses. His search for like-minded nurses who ‘think outside the box’ led him to The National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). He attended the national conference last year and was able to meet one of his career role models and fellow nurse innovator, Donna Cardillo RN, CSP. She has been very supportive of Clifton’s role as The Nurse Farmer. She stresses to him the power of publicity as a means to separate yourself from competitors in your business.
Clifton’s long-term goal is to further integrate farming into his nursing career. He advises that nurses need to think outside the box when it comes to their career and license. As a nurse who wants to branch out of their current career, Clifton recommends asking yourself this question that may steer you in the right direction. “If I could throw a sign up in my driveway that read REGISTERED NURSE FOR HIRE, what could I do for financial compensation using my nursing license that did not require a physician or employer directing or controlling me?” He says, “before answering the question remember the definition of nursing (abridged) is the promotion of health and the prevention of disease”. For Clifton, that means teaching and advocacy. He can teach and advocate farming, gardening, and nutrition.
Clifton admits his concept is still in its infancy. He is constantly rethinking and developing his skill set and knowledge base. Through The Farmdamentals of Nursing and his role as The Nurse Farmer, Clifton is able to reach out to his community and affect the mind, body and spiritual health of those whom he is in contact with. I am so glad to have connected with Clifton Joullian, nurse innovator. He has inspired me to think of how I can reach people through my own passions. Connecting, caring, advocating, helping others to achieve health and wellness is what we all as nurses hope to achieve. We all need to be encouraged to step out into the world and “get our hands dirty” to make a difference!
Hi! I am Sarah Matacale RN,BSN,CCS. I am a nurse, freelance writer, fellow gardener and mom to 3 busy kids! My husband and I love farming and gardening and enjoying nature!
Joined Jan '17; Posts: 31; Likes: 163.Mar 24I absolutely LOVE this article!!!! I love how it is refreshing and hopeful and positive and inspiring and it makes me totally want to meet this Clifton guy! Great job, Sarah! Keep up the writing. I'd love to hear about other nurses who are making a difference in their communities while having a blast doing it. Awesome.Mar 24I had the pleasure of meeting Clifton last year at the NNBA Conference - National Nurses in Business Association. We sat at the same table during most of the general sessions. Clifton shared such a unique and refreshing story about his journey. I hope to see him and many other nurse innovators at this year's conference.