by Jenita Richards
Known to many as “Nurse V,”Vianey Ariadna Perez, RN is the head of nursing at Beond, but her job extends far beyond the traditional nurse role.
Nurse V’s initial introduction to ibogaine happened in 2018. She was working as a nurse and had a standout skillset of being bilingual, due to being raised in a Mexican American home in the United States. She was approached by an ibogaine clinic that gave her little information on ibogaine prior to starting there, and there wasn’t much available online at that time.
She expresses that instead “ibogaine found her,” as she took the job mostly out of pure curiosity. Since then, she has been part of the medical team for over 600 treatments.
“I took a job out of curiosity and ended up finding true purpose in what I do.”
For her and the rest of the nurses at Beond, work begins as soon as the client steps through the door. The relationship built between the staff and patient relies on a deep level of trust.
Once treatment day arrives, the team marries more traditional nurse occupation work with the more holistic practices that come with plant medicine. The short but intense history the nurses build with those moving through the Beond treatment experience elicits an excitement. The nursing team has their own personal stock in the patient journey because they know the path that awaits them, many nurses on the team have experienced ibogaine themselves for personal growth and healing.
By the time treatment day arrives, the nursing staff has built a unique and trusting relationship with the individual seeking treatment. The day starts with waking up the client to begin typical morning hygiene and then preparing for the ibogaine experience. They weigh the client, connect them to an EKG to make sure their heart is in good condition. A drug screening is conducted for extra safety, and an IV drip is administered with important cardio protectors and electrolytes for hydration.
Unlike many medical procedure preparations, the room gets saged prior to any treatment. The ibogaine is given to clients during the preparation process, while a moment of silence is taken for the patient to ask the medicine for permission and bring in intentions set by the client. The physician takes the time after the silence to recite the history and legacy of the ibogaine treatment, further making space to respect the traditions it has come from. The team reminds clients of side effects they can expect, and headphones and eye masks are provided for sensory isolation.
“Trust, surrender, receive.”
The nurses that the client has become bonded with stay with them the entire time to keep an eye on vitals.
Although there are risks of low blood pressure, a slowed heart rate, and general distress, the nurse’s do not step in unless it is life-threatening. Nurse V assures clients to stay in the moment of their journey. “There’s nothing that can harm you in that world,” she reassures. The journey itself is filled with twists and turns, but the medicine is only there to help you.” Nurse V and her team are there for everything else.
“We got you in the three dimensional world.”
The trust that they’ve built up thus far onsite through the preparation part of the program, allows clients to go as deep as possible into their healing journeys. The job of the nurses at Beond is to see patients as people, not as their conditions.
Nurse V is able to do this job so much better after her own experience with ibogaine, on May 28th 2022, a date she is not soon to forget.
Going into it, of course the nerves were there. She had witnessed so many ibogaine experiences from people of all walks of life. Her main fear was from seeing people who had been seemingly happy going in who realized this happiness they had held was false and superficial, and they were hit with realities of things they needed to face.
She was worried about losing her “spark,” her bubbly personality. “What if there are things I’m not feeling? What if I’m not as happy as I think I am?”
These anxieties did not deter her, and Nurse V feels all the better for it. It allowed her to get so much more in touch. She realized that although she wasn’t parading a mask of sadness, she was not practicing self-love as much as she thought. Like many nurses, she was over exerting herself for the benefit of others and prioritizing them while sacrificing her own needs. This bird’s eye view of herself gave her the ability to show unconditional love to her younger self, and hold that part of her in compassion like she needed to.
She came to accept that she really is doing her best, after feeling so much guilt that she wasn’t doing enough for her family and others.
Interestingly enough, through this journey of learning how to love herself more, ibogaine still helped her assert that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping people. Albeit from this point on, with helping herself as well. Her journey ended with a sense of purpose and vision of what she’s meant to do. She was able to go to her team and tell them there was a lot of work to be done. She re-dedicated herself to helping people. She was now able to see how her and her team’s role goes far beyond clinical and how they can honor that.
Interested in taking your nursing practice to the plant medicine space? Nurse V has a few words of advice:
“Have a real understanding of the medicine… Have a true vocation for what you do.”
She encourages practitioners to work together as much as possible to share experiences and investigations into themselves so all can learn and grow from one another.