The practice of mindfulness has become increasingly popular in the past decade, with widespread publicity around the benefits it can offer. Recently, the importance of self-care in nursing has been examined as a way to improve mental health among the healthcare workforce, and in turn, the standard of patient care. So how can mindfulness impact agency nurses and how can it help you in your nursing job?
The concept of mindfulness focuses on bringing attention and awareness into our lives, as opposed to the reactive and “mindless” responses we so often have by default. It is not uncommon for us to have learned behaviors and mental habits that are far from constructive - often preventing us from thinking in a balanced and calm way. Mindfulness is effective in high pressure or stressful situations, exactly the kind of environment that nurses find themselves in on a daily basis. Using mindfulness techniques can improve mood and behavior, reduce stress and anxiety and promote clarity of thought in your nurse job.
Here are some useful mindfulness techniques to use in your nursing job that may just help to make things a little easier...
Focus on your breathing. Time is limited, especially in a nursing job, so this exercise can be done as little or as often as you can manage. Notice each breath as you inhale and exhale. This can help to slow the pace of your thoughts, particularly if your mind is racing. These slow, mindful breaths can engage the parasympathetic nervous system and manage our natural stress response, helping to calm the body down.
Many people report that bringing awareness to their current surroundings can help to clear their thoughts in a stressful situation, such as noticing the sensation of their feet on the floor, or different feelings in the body. In your agency nursing job, you may regularly be on high alert, so it’s important to invite awareness during moments of down-time.
Certain movement practices go hand-in-hand with mindfulness, such as yoga for example. Stretching, focus on posture and gentle movement during your nursing shift can all bring attention to the present moment, and slow down your thought process. Whether you’re walking in the ward, sitting or standing still, you can use small movements to bring awareness to your body and mind.
Taking a little time each day to focus on these three areas allows nurses to have a few moments to care for themselves. Nursing is an industry in which nurses prioritise the wellbeing of their patients but often neglect their own health. Practicing mindfulness in your nursing job can cultivate an environment which promotes resilience, self-care and ultimately better clinical outcomes.
If you’re looking for a new agency nurse job, contact our team today and find your next position with one of the country’s largest Nursing Agencies.