Quality of Life - Channeling Mindfulness In Nursing

Channeling Mindfulness In Nursing

As nurses, many of us feel that, of course, we are mindful, but are we really? And just what is mindfulness? Check out this blog to learn more about how to stay mindful and how doing so can enhance your nursing practice.

                                                ca7b00788c6c5d417ec75b160e0c3594-huge-mi


An article by NIH describes mindfulness as being totally in the moment, focusing on what is going on inside and immediately outside of your own body.  A sense of non-judgement and acceptance during this focused moment is also important.

Mindful practices include:
  • Stopping for a moment, if possible
  • Taking deep breaths
  • Concentrating on the present
  • Focus on how your body is feeling
  • Really notice your surroundings and what is going on

Lois C. Howland and Susan Bauer-Wu and offer additional mindfulness practices for nurses in this article from American Nurse Today, including setting aside ten minutes daily to fully observe your breathing as well as performing gentle stretching and other movement.

According to current research, mindfulness can assist in pain managementstress reliefchronic disease symptom management, and an increased overall enjoyment of life.
Learning mindfulness for yourself as a nurse can be useful in not only managing pain and stress, but also to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue.  Furthermore, mindfulness practices can benefit your family, friends, co-workers, and patients. 

In the past few years, a cohort of nurses sponsored by Robert Wood Johnson, delved into mindfulness, through research, publications, and video productions of nurses using mindfulness in their daily practice.  The following descriptions are all part of “In the Moment, Stories of Mindfulness in Nursing” series, which received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Johnson & Johnson.  Please click on each nurse’s name to view her video vignette.

Allie
Allie describes “being real with them and just being there” for a 23 year-old patient, who was scarred by drug use.  The patient discusses how drugs hope her cope with life’s difficulties.  Allie listens closely to what the patient is saying and feeling, and reflects on what she, herself, does to be less stressed.  Allie has a meaningful moment with her patient talking about how music and sleep help decrease her stress levels.  Allie also reveals that when she is overwhelmed, she refocuses on what truly matters and takes a deep breath. She offers the advice of keeping the mind still and forming your own opinions.

Sandra
Sandra explains that being present in the moment with patients at certain moments is such a privilege and should be treated as such.  She describes a poignant moment she encountered in the labor and delivery department.  Although it had a tragic outcome, Sandra was glad she had studied mindfulness and in doing so has felt greater compassion and love in her own life and is now more present in the moments when it is needed most.

Megan
Megan exhorts nurses to be present with the patient and their family.  She had a beautiful, but heart-wrenching experience with a tiny infant and its mother.  When the baby passed away, the nurses in the unit skyped into the funeral per the parents request and for the nurses’ own senses of closure.  Megan states, “the family entrusts me” with their child, and she feels it is her duty to talk to the family and form a genuine relationship with them.

Kelly
Kelly tells us that, “…mindfulness can be learned and coached” but also gleaned from experience.  Furthermore, it is valuable to center yourself even, and maybe especially, when you’re not at work.  She practices it when exercising and being outside.  Kelly feels we gain from all of life’s experiences.  During difficult situations, she likes to take a brief look outdoors, take a deep breath, and then come back to the situation a little more refreshed.  She describes a mindful moment during a patient’s final hours, sitting with the patient’s daughter and being fully present.  She says it is “truly an honor” to know what others need from you at that time.

Jamie
Jamie reminds us that everyone makes a difference.  When patients are mindful and offer thanks, Jaime receives an “inner happiness” and a further reminder to be mindful herself.  She says to offer patients that extra moment of time, even when you don’t think you have it.  Rely on your instincts.  You’ll never regret it.

Want to know more about mindfulness and this initiative?  Read The Mindful Nurse, Executive Extra from Nursing Management:  September, 2016October, 2016; and November, 2016.

Have any tips on how to stay mindful or stories about how practicing mindfulness has helped your nursing practice? Share them with us in our mindfulness discussion.

Find this helpful? Share this post with #HealthyNurse you know by clicking the icons to the left and follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


9877798c1740787d942be39bde6526cf-huge-an
Have you joined the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) Grand Challenge yet? Join us today! 
Posted by Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) on Oct 11, 2017 9:12 AM CDT

Tag your Friends & Comment!

Log in to post a comment.

I really love this approach Kris Drake‍!  One minute feels infinitely do-able - much less intimidating than the suggestion to meditate, for instance. And I'm sure as people adopt this practice, the feeling of the overall service environment changes, not to mention benefits for patient satisfaction and safety.  Thanks for sharing!  Would love to hear how the initiative takes root once it's been in place for a while.
  • Posted Sat 21 Oct 2017 05:58 AM CDT
Our Healthcare System recently launched our CALM 1 Minute Take a Breather Campaign that invites our employees to take a minute to return to the present moment before going into a patient room or beginning a new task. Our local media picked up our story and shared it during our evening local news cast. I was so excited to see that ANA picked this story up and shared it in their Smart Brief on October 12.
I am so excited to see how mindfulness is spreading across the nation to help us as caregivers care for ourselves and thus provide even better care of our patients. 
Kris Drake RN
  • Posted Mon 16 Oct 2017 10:53 AM CDT

Join Now - It's Free!

Join Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ Connect to assess and improve your health:
  •  Take a detailed health survey 
  •  Get personalized recommendations
  •  Join discussion forums
  •  Join group health challenges
  •  Access a robust resource library

LOGIN OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Share:

Categories