Picture this: you’re in the medication room, getting your AM meds ready. Your pager’s going off; the phone’s for you; the charge nurse is telling you your patient is ready for their CT scan. Everything seems to be happening all at once. How do you handle this?
How can you cope with the stress? What juggle competing priorities? How can you manage distraction?
Today I was at a mindful pause at my part-time job. Once a week, employees are able to gather and practice meditation and breath work together. It’s a beautiful experience.
As we were waiting for others to join us and get started, the group leader asked us for ideas in marketing this weekly offer to hospital staff. We started coming up with various reasons the meditation break is beneficial for healthcare staff. A medical student talked about the research that shows meditation helps the physical body in terms of lowered blood pressure and increased heart health. An occupational therapist described emotional well-being, from things like increased self-awareness and reduced negative emotions.
In addition to the fact that so many differing types of healthcare professionals were all in one room (a serious benefit in-and-of-itself), I found myself saying: ‘Sure, meditation helps us be with our patients more’.
Think about it- if you’re self-aware, focused, and fully present- what a wonderful way to be with and experience patient care. So let’s go through this together.
- Decide this is what you want. Guess what? If you have no desire to practice meditation… if you don’t want to increase your focus, concentration and peace of mind- then don’t. I can’t tell you what to do. I can only share with you that meditation certainly does help mind-body-spirit. For me, I have found I am more patient, less worried and able to listen and more fully connect with those I am in relationship with. OK- but again. First you must decide if this is for you.
- Practice in quiet. If you’re still with me (still reading here), then you’ve decided there is a reason that you want this. Maybe you want to let go of something; maybe you’d like to increase a positive vibe in your life. Whatever the reason is (and that’s important- figure out your motivation), now that you’ve decided to try this out… it takes practice. Think about when you learned to ride a bike. You couldn’t read about it; it wasn’t enough to watch someone else. You actually had to get up on the two wheels and try it out. Over and over again. The thing about meditation is that we practice in quiet so that we can perform in real life.
- Bring it to patient care. So you’ve practiced when there is no distraction, yet you get back to work and you’re thrown right back into the fast-paced mayhem. What do you do? Slow down and breathe. You can do this. I know it sounds counter-productive, as though you’ll never get through your shift if you slow down the pace, but trust me it works. How about this- try it once or twice for yourself. In a stressful situation- before you enter a patient room- take a moment. Feel your feet connecting with the floor. Watch the breath in and out for a total of 3 inhalations and exhalations. You can do this. It may take time, but every little bit helps. The more you can be with yourself in a calm and present way- the more you will connect with your patients in a similar fashion.
So what did I miss? Let me know what other step helps you connect fully with your patients. (And if you need a little more help practicing, check out my bestselling book which teaches many of these wonderful benefits.) Leave a comment below and thanks for reading!