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Nurse Scientist


Award-Winning Historian

"History records our humanity, heals ignorance, guides identity development, and inspires compassion."

~ Dr. Martha Libster ~

Dr. Martha Mathews Libster, Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, holds a doctoral degree in Humanities - Health Care History from Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England, a masters degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Colorado, and bachelor degrees in Dance Education from New York University and Nursing from Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles. The primary area of impact of her research is the practice of nurse-herbalism, integrative nursing, traditional medicine, and botanical self-care. Supported by award-winning historical research, translational botanical science expertise, and collaborations with nurses and indigenous leaders internationally, Dr. Libster's work advancing the practice of the science and art of nurse-herbalism has been disseminated through publications, presentations, and community events on five continents. She has designed and published three practice models on integrative nursing, health culture diplomacy, and precision botanical self-care that have contributed to global health transformation, policy reform, and wellness innovations. 

Dr. Libster has been awarded twelve research and program grants and has served as Visiting Research Scientist at Northwest University in Mafikeng, South Africa, funded by the South African Medical Research Council (2010).  In 2013, she held the Faith Andrews Research Fellowship in Shaker Culture from the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library. Dr. Libster also has served as Associate Editor for Botanicals for the Journal of Holistic Nursing (2009-2013) and Guest Editor for 3 international nursing journals. Dr. Libster’s book-length histories, Enlightened Charity (2009) and Herbal Diplomats (2004), are vivid depictions of the lives of American women nurses in antebellum America, whose health care expertise, enacted in their religious communities’ infirmaries and hospitals, contributed to the reform of American health care and the establishment of some of the country’s most noted health care institutions. In addition, Dr. Libster has published 33 professional papers and 3 practice models on integrative nursing, health culture diplomacy and precision botanical self-care. Dr. Libster's innovations include utilization of modalities that lead to enduring and sustainable improvements in health and policy while furthering patients’ and nurses’ relationships with the environment, a core value in the art and science of nursing. 


​​NEW Textbook

​​Precision Nursing Science:

Integrative Holistic Nursing with the Elements of Care®

A groundbreaking new textbook that advances integrative holistic nursing!


Historical Research

Translational Science - Herbal Medicine and Nursing Practice

Practice Model Development

  • Integrative Nursing

  • Health Culture diplomacy

  • Elements of Care

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nursing 

    • Educational Program ​​

    • Clinical Supervision Model Program Evaluation

Cover Kindness PMH.jpg

​​FREE Download

​​Kindness as the Remedy of Remedies:

A History of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

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2005 Lavinia Dock Award
from the American Association History of Nursing 


Inspirational Stories of the Founders of
American Nursing, Pharmacy, and Health Care Reform!


Focus of Dr. Martha's histories:

  • Nursing (America and Europe)

  • Culture

  • 19th-century women

  • American health care reform

  • Religious communities

  • Botanical and traditional healing

  • Community Case studies

  • Feminist history

  • Oral history

What Dr. Martha says about the nature of historical research:

  • All research begins with an historical question.

  • We gain insight when considering the context for human endeavor.

  • History is the science of data over time.

  • Understanding patterns of human behavior can be comforting and healing. 

  • People's memories of the past are fascinating!

  • Exploring history is a deeply spiritual experience.

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