Cheryl T. Handy MN, RN, NE-BC, HMCT

WCSI CCEP® Faculty
WCSI Caritas Coach®
WCSI Faculty Associate
WCSI Board Member
HeartMath® Certified Trainer
Associate Nurse Executive
Atlanta VA Healthcare System, Retired
Caritas Colleague

Cheryl T. Handy became the Atlanta VA Healthcare System’s first Caritas Coach® as well as the first Caritas Coach in the state of Georgia in October, 2010. Cheryl began her career with the VA system in 1983 after completing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Dillard University in New Orleans. She also completed her Master of Nursing degree with a major in Nursing Administration from Emory University in Atlanta. For over 30 years, she has maintained her certification as a Nurse Executive from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is a member of several professional organizations such as ANA, GNA, the American Holistic Nurses Association, the International Association for Human Caring, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society, Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. In October 2018, she received her certification at the HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, California as a HeartMath Certified Trainer becoming the Atlanta VA’s first HeartMath Certified Trainer, and Healing Circles Facilitator in May, 2021 implementing both of these programs for veterans and staff alike in the VA’s Whole Health Program.

Cheryl has held multiple leadership roles within the VA system and at the Atlanta VA. She served in the role of Nurse Manager for the Medical and Surgical Specialty Clinics and was instrumental in working with interdisciplinary teams for implementing Atlanta VA’s first Primary Care Clinics and Community Based Outpatient Clinics. She then served as Associate Nurse Executive (ANE) for Medical Specialty and Primary Care Service Lines and due to the massive expansion of Primary Care, she later decided to serve as ANE for Medical Specialty Care Service Line becoming the Chief Nurse for Medical Specialty Care Services. In this role, she was instrumental in leading her service line through successful regulatory agency surveys as well as two Magnet designations for nursing services having adopted Watson’s Caring Science as the professional practice model. In October 2009, she began her journey to enlightened consciousness in the Watson Caring Science Institute Caritas Coach Education Program® and graduated in April, 2010 becoming a Caritas Coach. She was also instrumental in having the vision for creating Atlanta VAMCs first Caritas centering spaces throughout the Atlanta VA Healthcare System. Her advocacy and vision for transforming the Atlanta VA into an authentic caring and healing environment, one nurse at a time also emerged when she implemented in 2009 educational trainings on “Transformation of Self and Systems through Caritas Literacy.” She continued to sustain that vision by facilitating annual Caritas Literacy Skill Fairs to ensure that nurses engaged in not only required clinical competency training, but also maintain fluency in the ontological competencies of Caritas Literacy. During this time, she also led a team that revised the RN Functional Statements (position descriptions) ensuring that Caritas Literacy was incorporated under the Practice Dimension.

While experiencing many years of intentional collective consciousness and human flourishing within the Atlanta VA Healthcare System, a season of unconsciousness emerged through a dramatic change in executive leadership that tested her commitment as a Caritas Coach, and to Caring Science. However, Cheryl never wavered in her commitment and continued to radiate positive vibrational energy transcending lower vibrational energy. During the transitional phase of repatterning and rediscovering from within, Cheryl was invited to join the Watson Caring Science Institute Caritas Coach Education Program as a Faculty Associate in October, 2018; a role in which she has continued to experience human flourishing as she too invites others to look within themselves and recognize the interconnectedness of humanity through the lens of compassion, lovingkindness, and equanimity (Caritas Process® 1).

Cheryl continues to serve as consultant in the community, community health care organizations, nursing schools, as well as other VA Systems on Caring Science and Caritas Literacy Education. She has presented on Watson’s Caring Science and Caritas Consciousness on many occasions at local, national, and international levels.

After 40 years of advocacy and exemplary care and services in fostering intentional quality care for veterans, and as a conscious leader to staff; she has recently retired from the Atlanta VA Healthcare System to pursue full time PhD studies as well as continue to work closely with the WCSI. Her passion remains in promoting the vision of Dr. Jean Watson in inviting the transformation of self, systems and society, one person at a time through an evolved consciousness of Caritas. She has come to realize through her enlightened consciousness the power of inner joy and peace, and that inner joy and peace are not determined by external circumstances or conditions, but from what you choose to hold in your heart. She remains in a state of inner peace and her path is to continue to share her awakened consciousness with others, as well as collaborate with others in promoting the vision of “Unitary Caring Science” so that it serves as a portal for caring and healing for self and others.

Cheryl T. Handy — CV-2023