Reflective accounts

Mindfulness

A CPD article improved Georgina O’Reilly-Foley’s understanding of how mindfulness can be used to reduce stress and enhance compassionate care.
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A CPD article improved Georgina OReilly-Foleys understanding of how mindfulness can be used to reduce stress and enhance compassionate care

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed how mindfulness and self-compassion can enhance compassionate care. At a time when the NHS is under increased pressure and media scrutiny, it was useful to read about strategies that support nurses to manage this pressure and maintain high standards of care.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article defined mindfulness as a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment. It described how mindfulness is an important aspect of self-compassion, because by becoming aware of their experience, individuals can learn to identify and address harsh or critical self-talk.

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A CPD article improved Georgina O’Reilly-Foley’s understanding of how mindfulness can be used to reduce stress and enhance compassionate care


Picture: iStock

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed how mindfulness and self-compassion can enhance compassionate care. At a time when the NHS is under increased pressure and media scrutiny, it was useful to read about strategies that support nurses to manage this pressure and maintain high standards of care.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article defined mindfulness as a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment. It described how mindfulness is an important aspect of self-compassion, because by becoming aware of their experience, individuals can learn to identify and address harsh or critical ‘self-talk’.

Throughout my pre-registration nurse training, my mentors encouraged me to be mindful and to analyse challenging situations before acting, so that I do not become overwhelmed. Nurses are often required to provide care for several patients with various needs at once; for instance, one patient might require their dressing to be changed, another might need a commode, one patient has a low oxygen saturation level and another requires pain relief.

Before reading the article, I would often feel unable to cope in situations in which I felt under pressure. However, I have learned to take a step back and assess the situation, thus allowing time for me to prioritise patients based on their needs. Therefore, in the scenario described earlier, care of the patient with the low oxygen saturation level would be prioritised, followed by the patient requiring pain relief, then the patient requiring a commode, and then the patient requiring their dressing to be changed.

How did you change or improve your practice?

After reading the article, I have attempted to become less self-critical and have more self-compassion. When I feel stressed, I take a step back and try to self-talk in positive ways, as suggested in the article. Adapting this mindset has improved my ability to manage stress.

One issue I have experienced in my practice is that in the final year of my nurse training, I have had less time to spend with patients, because my responsibilities have increased. I had felt I was losing quality time with patients; however, after reading the article, I realised the importance of being in the moment. For example, when testing a patient’s blood glucose level, I am aware it is important to talk to them and focus on the present task, rather than worrying about the next tasks that have to be completed.

I have also improved my ability to delegate tasks to other members of the multidisciplinary team, which has reduced the pressure I felt. I intend to improve my delegating and prioritising skills over time, and to teach others these skills.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

The Code theme of practising effectively states that nurses must practise in line with the best available evidence. Evidence indicates that mindfulness can reduce staff burnout and stress, and may improve resilience.

The theme of prioritising people emphasises the importance of treating people with compassion. The article emphasised that mindfulness and self-compassion are important aspects of being able to provide sustained compassionate care.

Georgina O’Reilly-Foley is a nursing student at Southend University Hospital, Essex


This reflective account is based on NS877 Barratt C (2017) Exploring how mindfulness and self-compassion can enhance compassionate care. Nursing Standard. 31, 21, 55-62

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