This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, Basma Adams.
If attending graduate school in the midst of a global pandemic has taught me anything, it’s the profound impact mindfulness can have on reducing an individual’s level of burnout. As the Diversity club secretary, I want to help support nursing students in exploring issues that affect our roles as caregivers within our communities, and I believe mindfulness is a topic that must be discussed further within the nursing realm.
The Diversity Club hosted its first meeting on October 6, 2021, and we were honored to have Dr. Bridget J. Frese join us to discuss the link between nursing and the art of mindfulness. We wanted to bring forth the opportunity for an open discussion regarding what it means to be mindful of one’s surroundings and ways we can practice this form of self-care. Mindfulness in its simplicity is the state of being aware of your present moment, including the acceptance of your thoughts, feelings and sensations. In these times, taking the time to care for ourselves mentally and physically ensures we have the capacity to care for others. There are various ways individuals can partake in acts of self-care and mindfulness, and we wanted to show that it can be as simple as focusing on your breath for 3 minutes and allowing yourself to focus on your body’s strengths.
Dr. Frese recently shared this with me, “As far as I see it, mindfulness and self-care help you to integrate and accept the various aspects of your life and enhance the authenticity you bring to professional and personal experiences. This… is a bedrock of embracing diversity. The integration and acceptance of various aspects of self, such as race, religion, socio-economic status, etc., is essential in diversity.” I appreciated Dr. Frese’s perspective on the relationship between mindfulness and diversity – as humans, we are inherently diverse. We encompass various emotions, experiences, and backgrounds that make us who we are. Our differences bring us together and allow us to present unique outlooks on life, which in turn allow us to bring empathy and patience into our practice.
As we prepare to enter the nursing workforce during a time where we are met with vast challenges, we must prepare to not only be able to meet the demands of our jobs, but to rise above and become champions of change. By catching sight of what no longer performs well within the system, we can work towards putting into place tangible practices that support the overall well-being of nurses everywhere.