MysticMag chats with Julia Royall, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, known as the Spirited NP. Julia embodies an integrative healthcare approach bridging non-pharmacological Western medicine with ancient healing traditions. With a lifelong fascination for the enigmatic, Julia delves into the depths beyond tangible realms, advocating spiritual healing as a core tenet in health. Her journey, catalyzed by a childhood leukemia diagnosis, led her through a career shift from acute cardiovascular nursing to a pivotal role as a caregiver for both her father and mother in their battles against illness. Graduating with a Master of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner focus in 2022, Julia’s resolve crystallized into creating a holistic sanctuary, the Spirited NP, offering a safe haven beyond conventional healthcare settings, integrating Eastern and Western medicine while nurturing spiritual well-being.
Could you share a pivotal moment or experience that shifted your perspective on healthcare, leading you towards a more integrative and spiritually focused approach in your practice?
I don’t think I can equate my transition to one moment or experience… It’s been the culmination of my whole life. The last few years have been specifically pertinent though. My beliefs on health and wellness haven’t wavered much, but my courage to express them is what has changed. I spent the majority of my life, or at least my young adult life, striving to excel in the logical and evidence-based world of corruption that is the United States Education and healthcare system… which doesn’t typically lead one down the path of mysticism. So, I kept my inner self at bay for nearly 15 years before my Spiritual Awakening occurred, finally erupting in January of 2022 when I quit my bedside nursing job in acute cardiovascular care. It was a combination of my experiences. I lost both of my parents to illness within a 5-year span, filling the caregiver role as well in both situations. I obtained my master’s degree during that time as well, and I was the charge nurse on an intermediate care stepdown unit during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t quite know how I made it through this timeframe other than I have an innate ability to handle stress, and a wonderfully supportive husband.
However, I eventually broke. I was closing in on graduation, the chaos and aftermath of my parents’ deaths was settled, and I was hating my job more and more every day. The rose-colored glasses were ripped off during COVID; I always knew that America’s hospitals were about the bottom line, but I was previously naive. I didn’t realize the lack of care that truly exists when you get up to the C-suite. The hospital became very transparent during that time, only because they couldn’t hide the corruption. And I, lacking any filter for what came out of my mouth, began challenging every upper management “suit” that grazed my path, including on social media. As it turns out, big corporations don’t really like it when their employees publicly disgrace them on social media, which is exactly what I did. Needless to say, I left my job of 14 years over a Facebook post, and I stick by what I said.
The day I quit my hospital job was the day that I ended a cycle of abuse with my employer. Nurses, you know, we are martyrs… and I showed up to my job every shift and I worked my butt off for the next 13 hours, selflessly, for my patients and my co-workers. I rarely took a full lunch break, and I worked more overtime hours than I can even fathom calculating, all because I was disillusioned to believe that it was my responsibility to take on everything. They (and by “they” I mean the C-suite execs who run these large healthcare companies) hold all of the power and all they see is dollar signs. This translates to less staff, less supplies, more tasks, and more responsibilities for healthcare workers. It’s not the nurses, or even the physicians and midlevel clinicians’ fault that you are not receiving quality care. The problem lies solely in our American Healthcare system, where we have access to some of the best technology and knowledge in the world, yet we can’t figure out how to make it accessible.
So, I decided that I didn’t want to play that game anymore. That’s why I started this venture, to challenge the system by bringing back a healthcare model that is truly patient centered, where people are valued over profit. Then, with that courage came the ability to finally listen to the voice inside that has been calling me to serve a more spiritual path. I had been saying for years that Eastern and Western beliefs could be blended safely and mindfully, and it was now the time to prove it.
Your journey involved personal experiences as a caregiver and a patient. How have these experiences influenced the philosophy and structure of your holistic healthcare practice?
Having leukemia as a child was likely very instrumental in shaping who I have become, as well as my philosophies in life. My parents were young, and we didn’t have much money, and they were grossly unprepared for caring for a kid with cancer. They did the best they could and I’m here as a testament that they kept me alive; however, I do believe that the circumstances caused me to “grow up” earlier than others my age. From age 3 to age 8 I was periodically undergoing chemotherapy while attending my small rural elementary school in Colorado. Trips to the city for appointments were normal, and I was accustomed to being in a medical setting. I joke that I knew what I wanted to be when I came out of the womb; nursing was the only career that I ever considered. My experience with intense medical treatment at a young age in the 1980s is not something that anyone would ever want to endure, and I know many people out there have negative connotations surrounding cancer treatments. However, I want to make it very clear that I wouldn’t be here having this conversation with you if it wasn’t for the evidence-based science that led to my cure. Spiritually speaking, my cancer experience fed an internal knowing that I am here on this Earth for a purpose.
I have been on many sides of the caregiver role as well. Bedside nursing as a career provided me with a wealth of knowledge, both clinically and in relating to the human condition. It has provided a gateway beyond the veil as I’ve been present as so many souls have left their Earthly bodies (I was a member of the Code Team for several years and there was a lot of death involved with that role). It is one reason I am comfortable accepting death as a part of life.
Segue to my next caregiving role; I am an only child with a medical background, therefore I became the medical proxy and middleman for both my mother’s and father’s illnesses and untimely deaths. As I mentioned, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up as a family, and my parents were blue-collar working-class citizens with small town high school educations. Health literacy was a constant challenge as I found myself educating and coordinating and explaining the nuances of healthcare and their respective disease processes over and over again. My father’s course began in October of 2015 with stroke-like symptoms that ended up being late onset multiple sclerosis. As he deteriorated over the next two years, he was forced to quit working, and his financial life savings was depleted. We entered into a battle with disability and social security, which was repeatedly denied for reasons I cannot understand. The system had failed him, and he tragically died shortly thereafter in November of 2017 from a workplace injury, solidifying that his disabilities were problematic.
Within about a year following that event, my mother was diagnosed with head and neck cancer, which if you know anything about, is awful. It was a course of failed chemotherapy and subsequent illness, followed by a failed 17-hour surgery, failed radiation, palliative care, and hospice. My mother passed away in January of 2021. Their deaths were both somewhat tragic and untimely, though I have made peace with the circumstances via my Spiritual Connection.
What I can tell you is that these difficult scenarios have taught me that more to life on Earth exists than what we can see in the physical realm. I’ve experienced things that I can’t explain, and I know that the afterlife is just beyond the veil, right in front of us. Knowing that this metaphysical world exists can be tremendously healing for certain individuals, which is why I have chosen to incorporate Spiritualism so deeply into my practice. Additionally, the health disparities that I have seen within the lower socioeconomic class hits home given my upbringing. For this reason, I have always placed a high priority on education and affordability.
Integrating Western medicine with ancient healing methods seems central to your practice. What challenges or successes have you encountered in combining these diverse approaches to healthcare?
My greatest challenge is that I feel as though I must convince both sides of the health spectrum of my validity. My training and education are in Western medicine, though most of my colleagues look at me like I’m nuts for turning down a handsome salary to work for peanuts while busting my butt to start my own practice. Not to mention that they don’t understand what “Mind-Body” medicine is, seeing as we don’t study alternative methods in school. On the flip side, I’m not a naturopath, I’m not an herbalist, nor am I a Reiki master or a student at some accredited spiritual school… So, the holistic world then asks, well what the heck do you do then? The answer to that question is this: I provide individualized care for each client that comes through my door, and I utilize every tool in my box to deliver well-rounded, researched, and evidenced based treatment recommendations that include allopathic Western, and broadly Eastern modalities of health and wellness, from meditation to plant medicine.
One of my greatest successes has been the addition of psilocybin, or “magic mushroom” therapy to my practice. I am an independent practitioner working outside of insurance in Colorado USA, where it is legal to grow, use, and give away psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms for medicinal purposes. The science behind neuroplasticity alone piqued my interest, but then after my own mystical psychedelic experience, I decided to jump in headfirst. It is the bridge between the medical and mystical that I was looking for… it’s how you immediately remove the veil for those who are suffering. The anxiety and depression rates are rampant in this country, as is addiction. I believe psychedelics are going to play an important part in shifting the consciousness of our country, and I’m here to trailblaze the path. It’s extremely exciting.
In your belief that “the body follows the mind,” how do you introduce and foster this holistic mind-body-spirit connection with your patients, particularly those accustomed to traditional Western medical approaches?
That’s a good question. I practice traditional Western medicine and I often find myself convincing my holistic minded patients who have been burned by a previous practitioner that not everything in the Western world is bad. My job is solely to provide education and to be a sounding board as the individual chooses what is right for their body and lifestyle.
My Mind-Body-Spirit practice is fostered through the use of Reiki, chakra dowsing, and connecting my findings (both energetically and medically) with the spiritual root of disease. I present ideas regarding the causes of disease patterns in which the “etiology is unknown.” Those dis-eases in the physical body can stem from energetic disruptions in the spiritual body. This is enough to get the wheels turning in the minds of my patients, at the very least. Then, if you add psychedelics to that, game over. It becomes more about pulling them back down to Earth after that. That would be what we call “Integration” in the Psychedelic field.
Reiki and spiritual assessment are significant components of your practice. How do you perceive these practices influencing the outcomes and experiences of your patients, especially those new to holistic healing methods?
I think I would just reiterate the above. When done right, all the holistic modalities that I use (Reiki, plant medicine, mindfulness training) can completely change one’s opinions and views on their health, and to a broader extent, their life. I’m just a baby Mystic, but I’m growing my knowledge and success bank with each client, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds as I navigate my own groundbreaking research.
If you would like to find out more about Julia Royall, please visit https://spiritednp.com/