Mindfulness, Intentionality, and Caring Science

Monday, 30 October 2017: 1:15 PM

Sara Horton-Deutsch, PhD, MS, BSN, RN, ANEF, FAAN
College of Nursing, University of Colorado-Denver, Aurora, CO, USA

Creating a workplace where all belong and thrive challenges traditional leadership development. To prepare for developing wisdom leaders, mindful practices create presence, attentiveness and awareness (Plews-Ogan & Beyt, 2014). Leadership is influence. How we develop, manage, and influence relationships across the organization influences our effectiveness, satisfaction with our work, and the overall work environment (Johns, 2016). These together influence the organizational environment and patient outcomes, particularly focused on patient safety culture. The core engagement of this interactive session is to lead participants into exploration of reflective practices to develop self-awareness and impact on others and the work place (emotional intelligence) through the lens of Watson’s Caring Science Framework (Lee, Palmieri & Watson, 2016) .

Though we have increasing evidence of the importance of vertical development that develops mindset and sensemaking, few nursing education programs help nurses develop reflective, mindful practice. Mindfulness is the cornerstone of reflective practices. Authentic presence is the practice of genuineness, self-knowledge, and self-awareness and brings integrity to the work place. We will open the session with the practice of breathing, of bringing self into the moment to reach the calm at the inner core in seeking authentic presence in the space created.

Mindfulness can become a habit of the mind; it can help nurses interrupt habitual patterns in which the mind moves out of the present and enters a stress response. Mindfulness creates a gap by becoming aware of the need for improvement, which invites other wisdom to emerge. Mindfulness as a habit of the mind helps create a moment of space to choose actions, to be present to reflect in the moment, thus helps develop a more effective leader.

Reflective practice is a transformative process to think about one’s work to be able to improve (Sherwood & Horton-Deutsch, 2012). To be able to change, one must move off auto pilot—that is, choose to be present versus task oriented. How does a mindful approach bring awareness of actions and consequences to improve patient safety—recognizing the connection of not washing hands and patient infections, or deliberately avoiding engaging in negative conversations? In reality it is choosing to pay attention to the moment and the opportunity presented. Shedding the fear of vulnerability by making a deliberate decision to respond in a certain way shapes the intentionality needed to reflect and positively transform experiences.

In this interactive session, participants will engage in reflective practice activities for developing self-awareness, learning to support others in their own inward journey to become reflective caring practitioners, and engaging in vertical development that supports wisdom leadership. By engaging in systematic reflection, we tap into the deeply human aspects of care. By integrating Caring Science as a foundation for connecting with self and others nurses develop presence, authenticity and intentionality to be more engaged in their work. Mindfulness associated with reflective practice is a systematic way to "make sense of experience" and provide a path to developing relational and person-centered outcomes.