Celebrating Caritas Colleague Mary Rockwood Lane

January 2021

We continue to highlight our Caritas Colleagues and share their contribution and commitment to Caring Science. This month we are celebrating: Mary Rockwood Lane, RN, PhD, FAAN, Caritas Coach®.


Mary co-created the first Arts In Medicine program in 1991, implemented at the University of Florida health care system with Caring Science as the foundation. It was a revolutionary shift in creating healing environments in hospitals all over the country. Jean Watson’s theory and Caritas Processes® were the foundation of this work and the reason why it was so successful.

Mary has traveled the world with Jean Watson teaching nurses about Caring Science and Healing with the Arts. These experiences, along with her many books, workshops and tele-summits have inspired her to continue to pursue her passion of integrating arts into the practice of nursing.

Caring Science has been my spiritual journey and personal practice in my life. As a Caritas Ambassador, I am committed to bringing Caring Science into the Light as a movement of conscious, visionary nurses creating the future of health care.

My Story

Pain and darkness can transform life as we know it. I was at home with two small children when my husband left me. It shattered me. I became deeply depressed and physically ill. Nothing helped me get out of my isolation, my lack and shame. A friend who was an artist, convinced me to come to her studio. She handed me art supplies telling me to draw and paint. I did not care, I was a total failure. I was more than a mess. I painted ugly and distorted portraits of myself. I started to feel better. So, I painted every day. I realized I loved it, just to express my rage, my despair, my shame in total abandonment. After several weeks of painting I was shocked to discover I was an artist!!! It was amazing. The artist inside me painted myself whole! I became so passionate – I realized everyone is an artist, they just don’t know it!  Since I was a nurse at heart, I went to the local University hospital and met with the medical director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Dr. John Graham Pole. Turns out, he was a poet and a clown. So, we connected with artists in the community and brought art to patients, families and staff.

It was the very first Artist in Residence program in the country. Over 500 artists came to learn and work with us over the next ten years. It became a national model for integrating the Arts in healthcare. Many documentaries were made and a movement was born. I had become the leader of a grassroots program that got national attention. Healthcare was transforming. Now today, there is music in the halls, poets on the clinical care units, art work on the ceilings made by patients and staff. The shift from clinical sterile walls to healing environments would become the new norm. Bringing the arts into the corporate medical science-based world changed the culture and suddenly the arts were significant to the living experience of the healthcare world. Art created a more humanistic focus. Art became part of creating a caring and healing environment.

During this time in my life, I discovered Jean’s work and became part of an initial group of nurses whom she shared her candle light with. I have carried that light forward in my life, researching the lived experience of art as healing with Caring Science as the basis of my work in nursing and onward. My journey has taken me deep into discovering who I am and where I belong. I have traveled with Jean and her beloved partner Ron to Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Japan, South Africa, California, New Jersey, London, Italy, Greece, Jordan… an incredible life!!!

I am so honored to be part of WCSI’s faculty and as a founding faculty and Board member of the Watson Caring Science Institute.

Legacy of Caring Science

I am committed to promote the beautiful and incredible legacy of Caring Science by teaching, coaching, facilitating Caritas workshops. I have created a new online course for nurses called Transpersonal Nursing as Ontological Artist, which is based on the work of Dr. Jean Watson and her book Postmodern Nursing & Beyond. It begins January 25th and runs 12 weeks through April 25, 2021 and registration is still open.

Caring Science has been my spiritual journey and personal practice in my life. As a Caritas Ambassador, I am committed to bringing Caring Science into the Light as a movement of conscious, visionary nurses creating the future of health care. I have created a loving partnership with WCSI to continue to promote Caring, Compassion, Love and Creativity as a major contributor in this legacy and bring in my light into the unitary field of consciousness. We are because of each other: UBUNTU*

Celebrating the future and being part of the evolution of this work, I am deeply grateful to stand beside her, walk alongside her and send her loving energy every day of my life.

There are 23 million nurses and midwives around the world that can activate the future of healthcare by stepping into their creativity and expressing the truth of what we care about the most. Their voice is what the world needs NOW. My desire is to create a movement by joining together and sharing our voices to bring in the Light of Caring, Creativity, Wisdom and Compassion for ourselves, each other and our communities.


Gainesville, FL


Link to the following books:

  • Healing with the Arts
  • The Caritas Path to Peace
  • The Path of the Feather
  • Shaman Wisdom – Shaman Healing
  • Spirit Body Healing
  • Creative Healing

Transpersonal Nursing as Ontological Artist  | Jan 25 – Apr 25, 2021  |  Online

FREE Online Healing with the Arts Course
In 2016, Mary worked with the University of Florida to create a free, online arts course based on her book Healing With the Arts, an acclaimed 12-week program lauded by hospitals and caretakers from around the world. The course has been extremely successful with over 61,000 learners and more than 10,000 followers on the Facebook page.

FREE Tele-Summit | Visionary & Transformational Nurse Leaders
Interviews with 26 visionary and transformational nurse leaders from around the globe asking them to share their vision for the future of healthcare and nursing.

*Ubuntu can best be described as an African philosophy that places emphasis on ‘being self through others’. It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases ‘I am because of who we all are’ in Zulu language. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_philosophy)