Mindfulness meditation is a popular topic in the media now. Research has already demonstrated the clinical benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction for patients with chronic pain or anxiety disorders | ONS Voice
Although there’s been limited research about the benefits of mindfulness stress reduction for oncology nurses and their patients, some evidence suggests that engaging in mindfulness exercises could lead to a safer environment.
Understanding human behaviors as they relate to attention and awareness is important. So much of our human behavior is automated. Consider how often you may switch into auto-pilot as you go through your day. Have you arrived at your house after a long shift and realized you don’t remember driving through that tunnel or over that bridge you cross every day? These are examples of mindless behaviors—something psychologists recognize as the antithesis of mindfulness and attention.
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Palliative care staff engage in emotional and stressful work; however, research is yet to offer any insights as to what types of psychosocial intervention can effectively improve staff psychological well-being | BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care
Aims: This research aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBI), which was condensed to make it more feasible for staff to attend, to improve the psychological well-being of palliative care staff.
Conclusion: This research suggests a condensed MBI can effectively improve staff psychological well-being; furthermore, findings can inform future development of MBIs for this setting.
Hill RC, Graham-Wisener L, Finucane A, et al 21 Exploring the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention for staff in a palliative care setting. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care. Vol. 07 (Issue 03) pp. A354-A355.
This article is a systematic review of empirical studies pertaining to mindfulness in healthcare professionals | Journal of Clinical Psychology
Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016. Eligibility criteria included empirical analyses of mindfulness and well-being outcomes acquired in relation to practice. 81 papers met the eligibility criteria, comprising a total of 3,805 participants. Studies were principally examined for outcomes such as burnout, distress, anxiety, depression, and stress.
Mindfulness was generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures (although results were more equivocal with respect to some outcomes, most notably burnout).
Overall, mindfulness does appear to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, so further research is needed, particularly high-quality randomized controlled trials.
Full reference: Lomas, T. et al. (2017) A systematic review of the impact of mindfulness on the well-being of healthcare professionals. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Published online: 28 July 2017
The aim of this study was to compare student nurses’ communication self-efficacy, empathy, and mindfulness across two countries, and to analyse the relationship between these qualities | Patient Education and Counseling
The study included 156 student nurses, 94 (60%) were Swedish. The mean communication self-efficacy score was 119 (95% CI 116–122), empathy score 115 (95% CI 113–117) and mindfulness score 79 (95% CI 78–81). A Mann-Whitney test showed that Swedish students scored significantly higher on communication self-efficacy, empathy, and mindfulness than Norwegian students did. When adjusted for age, gender, and country in a multiple linear regression, mindfulness was the only independent predictor of communication self-efficacy.
The Swedish student nurses in this study scored higher on communication self-efficacy, empathy, and mindfulness than Norwegian students did. Student nurses scoring high on mindfulness rated their communication self-efficacy higher.
A mindful learning approach may improve communication self-efficacy and possibly the effect of communication skills training.
Full reference: Sundling, V. et al. (2017) Mindfulness predicts student nurses’ communication self-efficacy: A cross-national comparative study. Patient Education and Counseling. Vol. 100 (Issue 8) pp. 1558–1563.
What goes through your mind in the moment before you walk into the room to see your next patient? A flurry of thoughts about all the patients you’ve already seen and the mountain of admin tasks you need to finish later today? | Medical News Today
But what if you paused – for just 3 seconds – as you touch the door handle, took a breath to be present, and let go of all that has gone before and all that is ahead of you?
Everyone has time to do this, Ronald M. Epstein, M.D. – a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester in New York, a family and palliative care physician, and author of Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity – told Medical News Today.
He uses the “doorknob” example in the many international lectures he gives each year on mindfulness, but readily admits that he is as skeptical as the next doctor.
“I don’t like this touchy feely stuff. I am not a new age kind of person. I am very skeptical,” Dr. Epstein explained. “Some people say ‘I can’t stop my thoughts.’ Well, it’s not about stopping your thoughts – it’s about paying attention to them,” he noted.
For Dr. Epstein, mindfulness is a powerful tool for medical professionals in dealing with personal stress, being more compassionate, and reducing clinical errors.
Read the full news story here
Zazulak, J. et al. Medical Humanities. Published online: 27 April 2017.
Empathy is an essential attribute for medical professionals. Yet, evidence indicates that medical learners’ empathy levels decline dramatically during medical school. Training in evidence-based observation and mindfulness has the potential to bolster the acquisition and demonstration of empathic behaviours for medical learners.
In this prospective cohort study, we explore the impact of a course in arts-based visual literacy and mindfulness practice (Art of Seeing) on the empathic response of medical residents engaged in obstetrics and gynaecology and family medicine training.
The results indicated that programme participants improved in the Mindfulness Scale domains related to self-confidence and communication relative to a group of control participants following the arts-based programme. However, the majority of the psychometric measures did not reveal differences between groups over the duration of the programme. Importantly, thematic qualitative analysis of the interview data revealed that the programme had a positive impact on the participants’ perceived empathy towards colleagues and patients and on the perception of personal and professional well-being. The study concludes that a multifaceted arts-based curriculum focusing on evidence-based observation and mindfulness is a useful tool in bolstering the empathic response, improving communication, and fostering professional well-being among medical residents.
Read the full article here
A CPD article improved understanding of how mindfulness can be used to enhance compassionate care | By Toni McIntosh for the Nursing Standard
One issue I experienced in my practice was that after visiting a patient, I would continue to analyse my actions and worry that I had done something wrong. The cumulative effect of this was that I became emotionally exhausted and felt unable to cope.
My manager suggested that I use a mantra, as discussed in the article. This is a phrase that I would repeat to myself after each patient visit, to enable me to feel confident that I did my best and to move on to the next patient with no residual anxiety. This enabled me to focus my attention and energy on each patient, improved my confidence and helped to challenge my self-doubt. I have learned that effective mantras are short, powerful and individual to the person.
Another change I made after reading the article was to try to ‘live in the moment’. I realised I was constantly ruminating about the past and worrying about the future, which meant I was not fully present in each moment. After incorporating mindfulness into my practice, I feel more relaxed and confident, and I have more emotional energy to give to patients.
Read more about Toni’s experience here
The original CPD article abstract is available here