“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”
– Mother Teresa
When I first heard about mindfulness I had no idea what it was about. I assumed maybe it was some sort of meditation, but in whatever case it sounded quite strange. Maybe I’m the only skeptic. But when I learned more about mindfulness and started applying it to my daily routine at work it really did make a difference. But before we dive any deeper let’s take a look at the definition according to New Oxford American Dictionary…
Mindfulness “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”
“a mental state achieved by focusing on one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”
I’m not sure about you, but if I’m not careful I can in essence “float” through my day relying on my routine without really stopping to engage with the world and people around me. It is so refreshing to be able to turn off “auto pilot” and to really live in the moment. Maybe your thinking, I’m so busy I don’t have time to do one more thing. And I hear you, but that’s the great thing about mindfulness; It’s not another thing to be done, another checklist, or something on your laundry list you must do before the end of your shift. It is simply being present in each moment.
Ways mindfulness has transformed my shifts at the hospital…
1. Caring for my patient more authentically: Some of the ways I have incorporated this into my day to day work is to always ask the patient a few personal questions during my assessment. You could just as easily breeze through your assessment without the chit chat, but this small thing really let’s your patients know that you care and is more rewarding to you as a care provider. Something I have incorporated is trying to do one thing that is above and beyond for one patient each day which challenges me to care outside the box.
“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn
2. Preventing medical errors. It’s easy to get in the mind set of charting just because it’s what you have to do for legal proposes, but when you employ mindfulness you have a chance to review your patients more in depth. You’ve probably heard it said before that nurses are the third line of defense. So we are responsible to be double checking everything to make sure it makes sense for our patience.
“Doctors and nurses are pulled in a million directions and are expected to implement recommendations on best practices for everything from which test to order to what treatment to prescribe. Guidelines will never succeed unless our healthcare providers are given an environment to foster concentration and focus, to minimize avoidable errors. It’s time to try another approach: mindfulness meditation for healthcare workers.”
-The Washington Post
3. Promoting a better work environment. When you are focused on the present moment you will more easily recognize when your co-workers are in need of a helping hand. It always means the world to me on a busy day when I go into a room to find my medications are already given or to see a co-worker out for a walk with one of my patients in hand.
Hopefully this post gave you a little better idea of the benefits of mindfulness and gave you a few thoughts to mull over as you start your day.