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Joyce B Perkins

Assistant Professor

Dr. Perkins teaches in the Master of Arts in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice Programs at Augsburg College. Her areas of expertise include complementary/alternative or integrative therapies, psychiatric/mental health nursing, group fitness, genetics, and transformational nursing leadership. Her interests include the new sciences of complexity, chaos and wave theory, sacred geometry, biogeometry, quantum physics, consciousness studies, cosmology, and metaphysics, as well as ancient and indigenous healing traditions.  Understanding, resonance, coherence, and the principles of “harmonic” evolution, as noted in advanced music theory, have transformed her thinking in terms of nursing theory development.  Dr. Perkins has studied with two nurse theorists: 1. Dr. Jean Watson (Transpersonal Caring Theory) served as mentor for her Ph.D. thesis at the University of Colorado Health and Science Center (UCHSC) in Denver, CO., and 2. Dr. Margaret Newman (Health as Expanding Consciousness) was her teacher and mentor at the University of Minnesota. Two Rogerians (Dr. Martha Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings), Dr. Francelyn Reeder and Dr. Marlaine Smith, at UCHSC, were also essential to her work in energy therapies and holistic nursing. Dr. Perkins serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Holistic Nursing.

Dr. Perkins worked as a psychiatric nurse from 1999-2012 at St. Mary’s Hospital, Generose Building, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. Her hospital nursing experience included addictions, depression/mood disorder, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. She is certified in many healing modalities including: Healing Touch (CHTP), Reiki (RMP-T), Spring Forest Qigong, Medical Qigong, and as an Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse (AHN-BC). She has studied the healing practices of shamans and healers among Native American Indian tribes, and the Q’ero Indians of Peru.

Dr. Perkins has a 30-year teaching career in the health and fitness arena. She has created programs, taught exercise classes, given workshops, and been lead instructor at various fitness facilities, including the Rochester Athletic Club (RAC). She is certified as a Group Fitness Instructor by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has taught many classes in qigong, meditation, yoga, aerobics, strength and toning, water aerobics and a water class for persons with arthritis and fibromyalgia (Arthritis Foundation Aqua Program). She is now developing classes and practicums for nursing students which involve unpacking the body’s wisdom and healing potential through movement and energy practices, bringing “direct” experience into the realm of nursing self-care, as well as developing “healing presence” for patient care transformative moments.

Embodying the transcultural, holistic and leadership perspective of the nursing department, Dr. Perkins has created or refined many classes including: NURS 803 Transcultural Cosmologies and a Global Perspective; NURS 807 Magic, Medicine and Healing Spirits; NURS 505 Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice; NURS 532 Transcultural Healing and Self Care; NURS 530 The Power of Ritual and Ceremony for Transformation; NURS 501 Transcultural Care Systems; and a graduate immersion course in England entitled Ancient Wisdom and Timeless Implications. In practical application, Dr. Perkins has implemented what is called in Nursing, a Unitary Caring Science into an educational format for nurses. She is adjunct faculty at the Watson Caring Science Institute to further this work on an international scale.

In a Unitary Caring Science nurses learn to balance linear rational logic, with intuitive perception and expanded awareness.  Embracing the fundamental principles of the natural world, the wisdom traditions of indigenous people, and modern science of the Western world, nurses practice co creating environments of healing potential.  They experience the sacred via an expanded awareness. A maturing consciousness is seen to develop in deep relationship with others. The transformative pathway of an expanding consciousness is developed via meditation, conscious conversations, and “direct experience”. Students learn to modulate mind and emotion, into realms of cosmic and divine potential. The lived experience of synchronicity and flow states are encouraged not only via classroom activities, but also by visits to sacred sites. Students learn to work with the energies of the land, as well as those of the human form, individually as well as collectively. A cosmology of compassion develops as field patterns merge, and intention for the highest good for all is actualized.  The nature of the whole evolves in exponential ways as Caring Science transforms conditions within self and others. The metaphysics of an expanded consciousness in relation to the natural world is unpacked as thought/feeling and emotion modulate waves of sound, light, color, frequency, resonance, and coherence.  The energy patterns shape the creation of the moment in physical form. Healing and enlightenment become known as the same process.

Dr. Perkins’ courses are now offered by Augsburg College to students outside the institution who make proper application. Course credits are transferable to other programs of study as the Department of Nursing’s programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).



  • B.S., University of New Hampshire, Medical Technology (A.S.C.P).
  • R.N., 2nd major, College of St. Teresa, Winona, MN
  • M.A., St. Mary’s College Graduate Center, Liberal and Integrated Studies, Focus area: mind/body/spirit integration through somatic psychology, interpretive dance and expressive movement
  • M.S., University of Minnesota, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
  • Ph.D., University of Colorado Health and Science Center School of Nursing

    Dissertation: A Cosmology of Compassion for Nursing Explicated Via Dialogue with Self, Science and Spirit.

  • Fellowship at the Summer Genetics Institute, National Institute of Health,  Bethesda, MD.
  • Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Washington, D.C., Nursing 860:Molecular Genetics in Research, Health, and Society

Research, scholarly interests, and theory development

Nurses Health Promotion Study: Department of Nursing staff self-reported ratings of stress levels, coping strategies, happiness, awareness and use of employer sponsored health promotion resources, and knowledge and use of complementary/integrated therapies. 2009

A Unitary Caring Science: The Art~Science of Nursing in a Complex World, 2009

Healing Touch and Health Related Quality of Life in Women with Breast Cancer Receiving Radiation Therapy, 2008

The Effect of Qigong on Depression: Mood Disorder and Gene Expression, 2005

Portraits of Healers: Synchronicity revealed in journals reflecting levels of awareness and interactive action. 2004

Portraits of Healers Dwelling with Others in Touch Therapies. 2004

A Cosmology of Compassion for Nursing Explicated via Dialogue with Self, Science, and Spirit, 2004

The Experience of Practitioners Working Within an Energy Healing Paradigm to Help and to Heal Their Clients. 2001

Health Personnel, Stress and Relaxation/Exercise. 2002

Non Pharmacological Pain Methods: Nurses’ Comfort With, Knowledge of, and Use. 1998

Recent Publications/Presentations

Perkins, J. (2011).  Reflective Comments on Ch. by Smith, M. “Philosophical andTheoretical Perspectives Related to Complexity Science in Nursing” in Davidson, A., Ray, M. & Turkel, M. (Eds.). Nursing, caring, and   complexity for human-environment well-being. New York: Springer Publishing Company. American Journal of Nursing, Book of the Year Award (2011)

Perkins, J. (2003). “Healing Through Spirit: The Experience of the Eternal in the Everyday”. Visions: Journal of the Society of Rogerian Scholars, Vol. 11, Number 12. R

Perkins, J. (2004). A Cosmology of Compassion for Nursing Explicated via Dialoguewith Self, Science and Spirit, UMI Dissertation Services, University ofColorado Health Science Center Denver, CO.

Perkins, J. (2013). The Role of Caring in the Human Health Experience: Magic,Medicine, and Healing. 34th International Association for Human Caring Conference, Orlando, Florida. (Podium presentation)

Perkins, J. & Miller, J. (2013). Magic, Mystery, and Miracles in Oaxaca, Mexico: Ritual and Healing Among Indigenous People. 34th International Association  for Human Caring Conference, Orlando, Florida. (Podium presentation)

Perkins, J. (2012). Unitary Caring Science in Advanced Practice Nursing Education.  18th International Caritas Consortium, Watson Caring Science Institute and  AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, New Jersey (Podium presentation)

Perkins, J. (2012). Unitary Caring Science in Graduate Nursing Education. Rogerian Scholars Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina (Podium presentation)

Perkins, J. (2012).  Applied Unitary Caring Science: The Science of Com-Passion,  Rogerian Scholars Conference, Charlotte, South Carolina (Poster presentation). Map of an educational program developed at Augsburg College for advanced Nursing practice.

Perkins, J. (2012). The Nature of the (W)hole, A Unitary Caring Science, And Human Becoming: An Explication of Unitary Caring Science, the Science of Com-   Passion.  Caring Science Summer Institute, Boulder, Colorado. (Poster presentation) This poster created a map for education of advanced practice  nurses via multiple lenses of western science, indigenous wisdom, and cultural  perspectives.

Perkins, J. & Overvold-Ronningen, M. (2010).  International Association for  Human Caring, Unitary Caring Science: The Art~Science of Nursing in a Complex World. Podium presentation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.  International nurses conference. (Poster)

Perkins, J. (2010). International Association for Human Caring, Rogerian Symposium Caring and Unitary Science: Patterns of Convergence, theoretical reflections related to the energetic foundations of caring and healing.  Podium  presentation with a panel of expert nurses from around the country for an audience of nurse professionals. Theory development explicated. Mayo Clinic,  Rochester,  MN.

Perkins, J. & Overvold-Ronningen, M. (2009) AHNA Annual Conference. Reflective Practice: Creating Sacred Space. Madison, Wisconsin. Poster presentation:     Unitary Caring Science: the Art~Science of Caring in a Complex World. This talk took  theory from my PhD work and spoke if its implementation in the everyday world of staff nurses on a hospital unit.

Perkins, J. & Overvold-Ronningen, M. (2009). Mayo Clinic Nurses Fair. Poster presentation: Unitary Caring Science: the Art~Science of Caring in a Complex World. Presentation of theory as seen in the lived experience of  hospital staff nurses.


  • 2010-2012: Course Design Award) for NURS 807: Magic, Medicine, and Healing Spirits. Focused on Fink’s model of creating significant learning experiences. Strengthened overall teaching skills and quality of interaction with students and peers in an ongoing process.
  • 2009: Mayo Clinic Excellence in Nursing Award from the Nursing Division Leadership Group  – for work in staff education related to holistic healing  practices
  • 2007: Lilly Grant: In collaboration with Dr. Susan Nash, applied for a Lilly Grant to develop a program for students related to “calling and vocation”.

Areas of Teaching Responsibility

  • Transcultural Health Care Systems: Nursing Leadership and Complexity Science
  • Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Transcultural Healing Practices and Self Care
  • Theory, Research and Practice Seminar
  • The Power of Ritual and Ceremony for Transformation
  • Transcultural Cosmologies and Global Perspectives on Healing
  • Ancient Healing Practices and Modern Implications
  • Graduate Field and Thesis Projects
  • Student Advising
  • DNP seminars
  • MAN and DNP practicums