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4 practitioners on what it means to practice mindfulness in health care

Careers and University, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Psychology, The Health Industry

To wrap up our Mindful May theme in My Health Career, we are very pleased to feature the comments of a physiotherapist, psychologist, nurse educator and occupational therapist about their mindfulness practice.

Here’s what they have to say…

Phebe Liston – Physiotherapist 

Phoebe Liston

“I started actively practicing mindfulness around my second year as a physiotherapy graduate. It was after I had one experience with a patient that I thought had gone dreadfully, however after they left, I found out they then recommended me to a friend and had sung my praises following our session. It was then I realised that I needed to stop getting caught up in my own thoughts and beliefs each time I interacted with a patient and be mindful in regard to the way my patient was interpreting our encounter. This realisation changed the way I practice, for the better. I am much more mindful in what I say and the way I say it during a consult, which allows for a more open connection with my patient and I feel much more confident that we are on the same page with their experience every time. So overall, I enjoy my days a lot more and feel that I make a real difference to my patients, who continue to recommend me which is a bonus!”

Rachelle Hampson – Psychologist

Rachelle Hampson

“I’m Rachelle a Psychologist and Wellness Coach with 16 years’ experience in private practice and 30 years’ experience adulting!

I meditate, I practice mindfulness, I teach mindfulness, I bore everyone around me with being present.

My favourite statement in todays overworked, need it now, can’t sit with waiting or not knowing or feeling your emotions whatever they maybe is “wait for the space in between”.

This for me means just slow down, breathe in, breathe out, do it again, do it 3 times before you react, judge, speak, panic, overthink – just notice what is there, they are just thoughts and feelings, they will not hurt you, they do not have the power to do so. Watch them come and go because they will come and as the laws of nature dictate they will go again too. Practice practice practice though. The monkey mind mental chatter is like a broken record just keeps repeating with much the same boring, outdated tune we allow to keep playing. Mindfulness and noticing has the power to interrupt this.”

Cheryl Prescott – Nurse Educator

Cheryl Prescott

“Mindfulness goes hand in hand with being compassionate and is an important quality in healthcare professionals of any discipline. Evidence suggests that being mindful is also a useful element in self-care and can help develop our “mental muscle”, increasing our capacity to respond effectively to stress and suffering (Brass, 2016).

On a personal level, mindfulness for me means making my time away from work as relaxing and reenergising as possible.”

Brass E (2016) How mindfulness can benefit nursing practice. Nursing Times; 112: 18, 21-23.

Nicole Grant – Occupational Therapist

Nicole Grant

“As the Director of my company, manager of a busy, multi-disciplinary practice, and also a clinician, being mindful is often a challenge. There are many competing, sometimes conflicting demands, and I often feel that I am being pulled in many different directions, with little opportunity to give anything my full, undivided attention. I often have to remind myself to practice mindfully, to purposefully and consciously focus on one task at a time, one person at a time, one moment at a time.

Some of my favourite mentors and managers have been those that have been masters of mindfulness. They’ve made me feel like in the time they gave to me, I was the most important person in the world, even though my needs obviously paled in comparison to the demands of their role. I remember with much adoration my doctoral supervisor, the late Professor Sylvia Rodger, who despite having significant responsibility in her work role, and battling horrendously aggressive cancer, still managed to make me feel like I mattered. That my project was significant, and my time valuable. Her actions were the true representation of mindfulness. In the time that she dedicated to our supervision sessions, she was focused entirely on me. She threw herself entirely into our project. She never watched the clock, she spoke calmly and warmly and with passion, and never took calls or attended to any other matter during our time together. Needless to say, I thrived with this care and attention, and I draw inspiration now from her example.

I am learning to be mindful. It’s a skill I am yet to master, but one that I value greatly. I strive to be mindful in my many different roles – as a manager, a practitioner, a business owner, and at home – a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter. I am seeking to achieve this by:

  • Not overscheduling my day, giving time to each task and not underestimating the time each task requires
  • Trying to dedicate time for work, time for my family, time for me, and attempting to give each of these things their own time. Multi-tasking is the enemy of mindfulness!
  • Starting a task and committing to persist with that task until completed
  • Avoiding using words like busy, hurry, rushed, quickly, pushed, stretched and other words that imply time is perpetually against us.
  • Remembering to engage all my senses to commit moments to memory, and to give my whole self to the moment.
  • Understanding that mindfulness is important for success in all facets of our lives and for all aspects of our wellbeing”

My Health Career would like to thank all of the practitioners who have contributed to our #MindfulMay theme. It’s been fantastic to share in everyone’s practice.

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