Promoting Wellness and Mindfulness for Nurses

Saturday, 18 March 2017: 10:15 AM

Deborah A. Raines, PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF
School of Nursing, University at Buffalo: SUNY, Buffalo, NY, USA
Diane Ceravolo, MSN
Nursing, Sisters of Charity Hospitals, Buffalo, NY, USA

This presentation will share the design, implementation and evaluation of a series on wellness and mindfulness for nurses. Nurses often state they are too busy to take a break or lunch, to go to the restroom or even to take a deep breath and reflect for a moment. But in order to provide quality care for others, one must first be present, care for themselves and feel nurtured and supported. Like the safety announcement on an airplane, put your oxygen mask on first…then help others. This presentation shares our experience in providing nurse leaders and first year nurses the tools needed to re-energize, re-focus and re-center and to allow them to have the energy, caring compassion and patient centered focus when providing patient care as well as when working with other member of health care team.

The series was designed as twice/month roundtables for cohorts of nurse leaders and nurses in their first year of professional nursing practice. The cohort of nurse leaders and nurses in the first year of practice were purposefully designated for this project. Nurse leaders play a key role in establishing the unit culture and for promoting high quality, patient centered care. As the leadership group becomes knowledgeable about and practitioners of mindfulness, they will be able to support their staff to become more aware of the importance of taking care of themselves, in order to better interact with others and to care for their patients. As identified by the American Organization of Nurse Executives, nurse leaders serve as initiators and the primary influence in creating positive, safe and healthful practice/work environments. The second cohort, nurses in their first year of professional practice are particularly vulnerable as they transition from the role of student nurse to professional nurse. In addition, these new nurses are often working night shift, where caring for self is critical and where they may have less interaction with and access to the resources of the organization. Providing this group mindfulness training may enhance employment retention as well as allow them to model self-care behaviors for other staff in the healthcare environment. The organization makes a significant financial investment in the hiring and orientation of new nurses. When these individuals leave a position because of stress, burnout or feeling overwhelmed the cost to the organization is between $50,000.00-100,000.00. In other words, supporting new nurses during the first year of practice is significant to career trajectory, quality patient care and the financial health of the organization.

Each interactive session was 60 minutes in duration and presented the participants with techniques to center themselves, to relax, reflect and re-energize, and to care for themselves so they are able to care for others. Group size is limited to 12 participants to encourage deep sharing and reflection.

Participants completed pre- and post-intervention survey related to anxiety, self-compassion and perceived wellness to demonstrate if the series makes a difference. Quantifiable outcomes of participation include a decrease in the participant’s score on the anxiety scale and an increase in the score on the self-compassion and perceived wellness scales. In addition, patient satisfaction score before and after the intervention are being analyzed.

To facilitate replication of this endeavor by others, this presentation will focus on the process of designing, implementing and evaluating this program in a busy, acute care organization as well as the challenges and opportunities we learned from in the process.