Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN 4204

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN


For #healthynurse Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, wellness is all about the 2 “M’s.”

That’s what he calls his well-being priorities because they include movement and mindfulness. Jeff ensures each day has some component of movement and mindfulness for his own physical, mental, and emotional health.

Personal well-being hasn’t always been a top priority for Jeff, but the pandemic changed his perspective. Despite the stress, something good came out of these past two years for Jeff: He learned to appreciate stillness and put himself first.

Mindfulness for Mental Health
One of his biggest changes was incorporating daily mindfulness practices. His routine includes:
  • 5-10 minutes of gratitude practice in the morning: Jeff quietly thinks about everything he’s grateful for. One example is recognizing and appreciating the day’s gorgeous weather.
  • 10-20 minutes of sleep meditation at the end of the day: Jeff uses a guided meditation in bed with music and/or deep breathing exercises to help him clear his mind before sleep.

Both mindfulness routines have created healthy benefits for Jeff, including lowering stress and improving his sleep quality.

“Evidence shows that there are long-term benefits to mindfulness and gratitude practices,” said Jeff. “It lowers stress, and studies show the increase in anti-stress hormones is still evident 8-10 hours after completing the gratitude practice.”

Movement for Overall Wellness
Jeff’s movement activity of choice is cycling. He got his own stationary cycling bike during the pandemic and has fallen in love with it. He does a 45-minute, high-intensity cycle almost every day that he’s home. When he travels, he uses a mobile app that has other guided modes of exercise like walking and running.

“I travel a lot, so finding time to move while on the road is a challenge,” said Jeff. “But when I’m cycling, it doesn’t feel like exercising, and it’s a great way to start my day.”

Holding Himself Accountable
As SVP & Chief Nursing Officer at Press Ganey, Jeff is busy. To make sure he prioritizes his own wellness through movement and mindfulness, he’s careful to schedule pockets of time in his day for those activities.

“I started scheduling them during the height of the pandemic,” said Jeff. “I made it a priority and built it into my schedule. And for the first time in my life, I decided not to try a crazy diet or restrict myself, but to only focus on movement and mindfulness.”

By focusing on the 2 M’s for a total of 90 minutes each day, Jeff has lost about 30 pounds. He did this without setting any weight loss goals or counting calories.

Jeff attributes much of his success to the way he thinks about goals. Instead of focusing on a singular goal or number, Jeff makes the activity itself his goal. Every day, he must complete some form of movement and mindfulness.

And he gives himself grace when circumstances aren’t perfect. For example, if Jeff can’t get in a full 45-minute cycling session because he’s traveling, he’ll walk the airport terminal. What matters is that he’s moving — no matter where or how.

Jeff’s Advice
If it doesn’t feel natural, it can feel selfish. And for many nurses, prioritizing themselves doesn’t feel natural. The important thing to remember is:
  • You can give yourself permission to focus on you: In Jeff’s journey of movement and mindfulness, it wasn’t until he put himself first that his health and well-being came full circle.
  • It may feel impossible, but there’s never been a more important time to prioritize yourself: Burnout is rampant among nurses, with 1 in 5 reporting they’re at risk of leaving their current jobs because of it. Now, more than ever, you need to take care of yourself.
  • Make it a habit: If you deliberately put your own wellness into your schedule, you have no excuse not to follow through. This allows you to hold yourself accountable.

Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, FAAN, is SVP & Chief Nursing Officer at Press Ganey.

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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 06/28/2022 8:54am CDT

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