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Mindfulness: Good for Patients, Good for Nurses

Working as a nurse — dealing with emergency situations, difficult patients and unexpected circumstances — requires stamina, patience and fortitude. But sometimes nurses may become overwhelmed with the demands of their jobs. One way nurses can maintain their physical and mental well-being is through mindfulness.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the act of releasing yourself from thoughts and feelings about past or future events so you can pay attention to the present moment and fully immerse yourself in it.

Why Is Mindfulness Important?

Mindfulness frees you from doing things automatically or habitually without awareness. Bringing conscious awareness to your life can have a positive impact on your career, relationships and life experiences. While this holds true for professionals in any line of work, it is of particular significance for nurses whose daily work and related interactions constantly pull them outward.

How Does Mindfulness Relate to Healthcare?

Healthcare today is becoming increasingly complex. A growing aging population with multiple chronic illnesses and rapid technological developments mean nurses have a lot to keep up with to do their jobs well. Moreover, nursing shortages around the nation are relying on fewer nurses to shoulder more responsibilities, making them susceptible to burnout.

Mindfulness has value in healthcare for its power to bring a nurse's attention back to the matter at hand.

What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

Nurses who practice mindfulness can benefit in the following ways:

  • Avoid burnout by decreasing tension;
  • Improve focus in order to quickly identify problems and administer appropriate interventions; and
  • Remain attentive to help patients and family members stay informed and relaxed.

How Can Nurses Achieve Mindfulness?

To achieve mindfulness, nurses should focus on where they are and what they are experiencing in the moment. Here is a set of steps that can help nurses achieve this state in a few minutes:

  • Quiet the mind by keeping the body still and closing the eyes.
  • Breathe in and out, with awareness.
  • Perform a body scan.
  • Register the sensations associated with inhaling and exhaling and your body's response to the breathing exercise.
  • Become aware of your physical response to these steps.

Healthcare settings tend to be challenging environments for nurses. Practicing mindfulness can help nurses provide quality, patient-centered care while safeguarding their own health.

Learn more about UL Lafayette's online RN to BSN program.

Sources: Benefits of Mindfulness

Institute for Healthcare Improvement: The Need for Mindfulness in Health Care

Wolters Kluwer: How Mindfulness Transforms the Nurse and Patient Experience

AJC: Why Every Nurse Should Practice Mindfulness (and How)

PositivePsychologyProgram: What is Mindfulness? A Psychologist Explains.

American Nurse Today: The Mindful Nurse

NCBI: The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation for Nurses and Nursing Students: An integrated literature review

Mindful: What Is Mindfulness?

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