How to Fit Mindfulness into a Busy Nursing Career

by | Apr 28, 2015 | 15 comments

Picture this: You walk into the storage room on your unit and stare at the materials cart, unable to remember what you are there for. Or how about this one? You enter Mr. Smith’s room and when you do you suddenly cannot recall what you were going to ask the patient in front of you.

As a busy nurse with so much on the mind, it’s no wonder we forget things from time-to-time. In fact, with alarm fatigue, electronic interruptions, and the everyday distractions that come from a busy, fulfilling life- it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.

Mindfulness in Nursing Careers: How to Use Everyday Triggers in Practice #nursingfromwithinA Remedy to Information Overload

One solution to this constant go-go-go is to pause and bring mindfulness into your busy nursing career. Now I know (or can imagine from lots of experience with speaking to nurses on this subject) what you are going to say to this suggestion: ‘Elizabeth, I just don’t have time at work to pause. There is no way I can take a minute to do anything extra.’

I totally hear you. And partly agree.

Working with clinical nurses during my workshops, webinars, and group courses I have seen and heard it all. In fact, as a retired charge nurse on a busy inpatient psychiatric unit, I have lived it right there with y’all. There just seems to be no time at work to do anything extra!

And on top of that- what if the word ‘mindful’ turns you off? What if hearing about ‘presence’ and ‘pausing’ isn’t something that interests you?

What if you’re not into meditation?

Each time you sit down to meditate you fall asleep, get bored or frustrated with yourself thinking, “I just can’t do this“. Here’s a resource that can increase your mindfulness in nursing practice (and won’t take any extra time to do).

In this video I share with you how everyday triggers can help.

While the above video referenced and invited you to the Art of Nursing program of 2014 we will be celebrating Nurse’s Week with the Art of Nursing 2.0. During the Art of Nursing 2.0 program we will share mindfulness tools, holistic techniques and self-care practices that will uplift and empower your nursing practice. For more information, click here.

What is one way you can use everyday triggers to bring in more mindfulness as a busy nurse? I’d love to hear more ideas so go ahead and leave a comment below. Thanks for reading and enjoy the day!

(This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at The Balanced Nurse Blog. Find out how to participate.)

About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the  host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.


  1. The Yoga Nurse®

    Anyway any how you can find the trigger to be more present, it starts with being being mindful. It,s a practice. This round of the blog carnival is all about bringing awareness to that. I liked the triggers you shared. Thanks Elizabeth.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you, Annette. I appreciate your comments and am glad you enjoyed the post. -Elizabeth

  2. Eileen Spillane

    Thanks for the post Elizabeth. When I teach meditation, I often hear similar complaints – “I’m bored, restless or my mind is thinking too much” etc.
    Well here’s the fun part: That can be the trigger Annette is referring to. You don’t have to run away from them, you become mindful of the present moment and if its a busy mind, simply note oh thinking and go back to the breath and naturally the mind will call you over agin for something fascinating on your “to do” list, you get to note oh that is thinking and go back to the breath.
    Every single time you come back is a moment of awareness.
    I’m going to tune into some of my triggers now 😉

    • Elizabeth

      Great, Eileen. Thanks for these additional and helpful comments. Absolutely a great way to ensure we are engaged in the practice. Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth

  3. Big Red Carpet Nurse

    Learning new skills like mindfulness is an investment, and one I doubt many of us can afford to ignore. Thanks for your great post!

    • Elizabeth

      You got it, Greg! Thanks for the comment. Enjoyed your perspective. -Elizabeth

        • Elizabeth

          Hi Greg,

          Signed up for the fall? Not sure if I am understanding you correctly. If you are referring to the ‘Your Next Shift’ Workshop- I have not seen your sign up come through. You will need to register here: Thank you!

          • Big Red Carpet Nurse

            YOu’re right, and I will soon. Wife was in hospital and I was a single dad a week. Ugly stuff, Greg as single Dad! We survived OK, but there are still lots of loose ends. THanks for the reminder!

          • Elizabeth

            LOL- no worries. I am sure you did great. I hope your wife is OK and healing now. Sending positive energy and loving thoughts. Enjoy the day!

  4. Maureen Osuna

    I work day shift in a busy ICU…the constant noise, distractions and frustrations can combine to make me frazzled even on my best day. I have walked into the supply room more times than I care to count and not remembered why I was there. Pausing for even just a moment, turning off the noise and focusing on the task at hand is so important. Thank you!

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Nurse Mo,
      Thanks for coming by and sharing your comment. It’s so true that there are more than enough distractions at any single time in nursing. I am glad you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. Thanks for reading! Enjoy the day,

  5. Carrie Sue Halsey

    Great article! I love the instructional video on triggers. What a great idea to include a short video in your post. I watched it at work which is the place I need it the most! ☺️

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Carrie Sue,
      Thanks for coming by and sharing your additional insights with us. I am so glad that you enjoyed the video and found it applicable. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Enjoy the day,


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