Know Your Neighbor: June Stakun

Nurse offers shamanic healing, yoga

By Kathy Córdova
For The Taos News
Posted 1/30/19

Stakun is director of clinical services for Mountain Home Health Care. Her work background in nursing enhances her current position.

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Know Your Neighbor: June Stakun

Nurse offers shamanic healing, yoga


When one needs professional health care in the home, June Stakun of Mountain Home Health Care in Taos is there to help with the process.

Stakun is director of clinical services for Mountain Home Health Care. Her work background in nursing enhances her current position. She spoke about those experiences and changes in the health care industry during a recent interview.

When asked about her duties, Stakun replied, "Health care is one of the most regulated industries in this country. It's also very complicated. My job is to make certain that agencies follow regulations. I oversee the clinical team."

Ensuring quality

To ensure quality care, Stakun serves as a resource person, overseeing the home health and hospice aspects of the services, but not the therapy functions. Stakun's departments involve nurses, Certified Nurses' Assistants (also known as home health aides) for home health, and on the hospice side, she oversees social workers, spiritual counselors, volunteer coordinators and massage therapists. At present, Stakun supervises 22 people, including full-time and part-time personnel. "Even though I'm in management now, I'm a clinician at heart," Stakun said. "I love the moments to talk to caregivers, family members and patients. Sometimes, I'll participate in supervisory visits. I try to do anything I can to help."

Mountain Home Health Care also offers other therapies not supervised by Stakun such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Within the organization, well-known Taos physicians Dr. Michael Kaufman serves as the organization's board president and Dr. Lucas Schreiber is the hospice director. Mountain Home Health receives patients through doctor referrals.

Shamanic practice

In addition to work at Mountain Home Health, Stakun works in other health-related areas. She owns a small business, Juniper Healing Arts and Consultants. Through her business, Stakun is a shamanic practitioner who uses various energy healing techniques. She traveled to Peru 12 times for her studies and honors the traditions and performs the ceremonies associated with Peruvian shamanic practice.

Stakun said she recognizes the benefit of genuine laughter for healing. To that end, she earned certification as a Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher. Participants work in a group setting and learn to laugh unconditionally, for no reason at all. "Now that I'm working full-time, I'm not leading groups," explained Stakun. She also trains Laughter Yoga Leaders.

At her home in Ranchos de Taos, Stakun offers a weekly yoga class. "It's not a well-known yoga, Svaroopa, that specializes in core opening. The process uses spinal decompression, releasing tension in muscles wrapped around the spine. Svaroopa uses props such as blankets and blocks for maximum results in minimum time. The work has a healing effect on all aspects of being - mind, body, spirit, etc.," said Stakun.

A nurse's life

The clinical director offers a rich, varied background to qualify her for her current services. "When I was 16, I told everyone I was going to be a nurse," Stakun said, laughing.

She did so after earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Boston College School of Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. In addition, Stakun became a nurse practitioner, specializing in gerontology. She also earned a master's in applied psychology at the University of Santa Monica. "I've been a nurse for 33 years. Even though I'm a nurse practitioner, I now practice as an RN," she said.

Her vast experience includes stints in orthopedics, surgery, specialty floors in hospitals, home health and hospice, locked psychiatry units, nursing education, clinical instruction and travel nursing. Over the years, she's worked in six different states: Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Florida, California and New Mexico.

Family support

While Stakun received her education and experience, her family was her support system. Her parents are Frances and Medwin Stakun of Worcester, Massachusetts. The eldest of three girls, June Stakun talked about her two sisters. Mary (Sean) Fitzgerald raises her son Matthew in Buffalo, New York. Nancy Stakun resides in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with sons Colby and Max. Many family members live in the Northeast.

Her other family are all four-legged. "The four kids of my heart are my two dogs and two cats," said Stakun. Her dogs are Santos, a Shar-pei mix, and Mirabel, a shepherd mix. She adopted one of her cats, striped tabby Stike, from Stray Hearts Animal Shelter in Taos. Her other cat Elsa, a former feral cat and a shorthair, adopted Stakun and literally moved into her home. Stakun volunteers at Stray Hearts, walking the dogs and helping at the cattery. "I love having a cat on my lap. Cats and dogs are good therapy animals who bring you into the present with unconditional love," she said.

Spare time fun

In her spare time, Stakun enjoys hiking, being in nature and with friends, learning, cooking, baking, reading and raising flowers. The clinical director also is a frequent traveler. She's visited Canada, Mexico, many places in the U.S., three countries in South America and most of Europe. She enjoyed a safari in Africa, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and camped in the Serengeti. "The lions were so close that you could feel their vibrations," she described.

The avid traveler moved to Taos from Miami in 2011. "I'm restless, so I move. Here in Taos, I don't feel that way; I'm at ease. I'm here to stay," Stakun said. "I started with Mountain Home Health Care in January 2016. Founded in 1975, it is Taos's only nonprofit home health and hospice organization. There is great heart and soul at Mountain Home Health Care, great teamwork and collaboration. I love being a part of helping our home health care patients return to optimal function in their own familiar surroundings and end-of-life comfort care through hospice. I like to provide and be of service to the community."

You can reach Juniper Healing Arts, Laughter Yoga and Svaroopa Yoga with June Stakun, at (505) 862-9343.


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