Broward Community College Mindful Nurse by Lois C Howland Article Paper The assignment is based on
the article “Mindful Nurse”, I need a two pages outline from the
The mindful nurse
By Lois C. Howland, DrPH, MSN, RN, and Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN
MINDFULNESS is an increasingly common topic in
both popular and professional literature. In clinical populations, evidence suggests mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) can reduce symptoms linked to various
conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and
depression. Among healthcare professionals, mindfulness
training can reduce psychological and physiologic stress,
emotional distress, and burnout while improving empathy, job satisfaction, and sense of well-being. This article
gives an overview of mindfulness and MBIs and discusses how mindfulness practices can benefit nurses both
personally and professionally.
What exactly is mindfulness? It’s the capacity to inten-
tionally bring awareness to present-moment experience
with an attitude of openness and curiosity. It’s being
awake to the fullness of your life right now, by engaging the five senses and noticing the changing landscapes
of your mind without holding on to or pushing away
what you’re experiencing.
Being mindful doesn’t mean stopping your mind from
thinking or trying to be relaxed and peaceful. Nonetheless, many people who practice mindfulness regularly
report feeling more calm and clearheaded. You can develop the ability to be more mindful in everyday life
through mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness
Being more mindful can
deepen your understanding
of clinical situations,
American Nurse Today
Developing a more mindful nursing practice
While being more mindful is a lifelong process, you can begin to explore the effects of mindfulness now with a few simple practices.
Feeling your breath
Set aside 10 minutes a day (or just a few minutes, if your time is very limited) to
focus on your breathing. Notice the sensations of the breath as it travels in and
out of your body. Don’t try to make the breath happen in any particular way; just
notice your breathing as it’s happening. Of course, your mind will get caught up
in other mental events, such as planning or daydreaming. But mindfulness simply
invites your attention back to the breath without criticizing or judging the mind’s
wandering. This “awareness of breath” meditation helps slow your mental activity
and builds the capacity to stay focused. Taking a few slow, mindful breaths before
entering a patient’s room can activate the parasympathetic nervous system,
causing the “relaxation response,” which helps you feel more centered and more
fully present with the patient.
mind to present-moment experience
can help interrupt stressful thinking
and may enhance your sense of calm
How does mindfulness work?
The mind is busy. It constantly
processes memories and plans, rehashes past events, and takes in and processes information from the senses
and internal body. At the same time, it
orchestrates the activities that allow us
to function in daily life. The mind also
must respond to the challenge of our
ever-expanding and complex technoTuning into your body
logical environment, which bombards
If your mind becomes agitated with self-criticism, worry, and negative thinking,
us with a relentless stream of informabring your attention to the physical sensations of your feet as they rest against
tion from electronic devices and social
the floor or other touchpoints of the body where it contacts other surfaces. You
media—increasing our mental distraccan practice this attention to body sensations virtually anywhere to help settle
tion and stress.
your distracted mind.
Neuroscience research shows mindUsing movement
fulness training can enhance the brain
Bringing awareness to moving your body mindfully can include gentle stretches
regions responsible for attention and
in the morning during a break in your day or walking down the hallway to a paexecutive function (problem-solving
tient’s room. Notice the physical sensations of your body moving, or the connecand intentional action) while modulattion of your soles as your feet plant and lift from the floor. Be aware of the intricate interplay of nerves, muscles, tendons, and bones that allow movement to
ing the amygdala, the brain area that
happen. Mindful movement can slow down the busy mind and increase your
identifies threats and triggers such
sense of feeling grounded.
emotional responses as fear and anger.
Practicing mindfulness in daily life
Mindfulness practices can enhance
You can bring greater attention to routine activities, such as brushing your teeth,
your ability to pay attention and notice
taking a shower, or walking the dog. Try to notice and bring curiosity to the rouwhat’s actually happening, particularly
tine activity as if you were doing it for the first time, exploring it with all senses
in stressful situations. This ability to
(sight, smell, sound, touch, or taste). You may discover something new.
notice attentively and see situations
more clearly can help you respond
than react. This has particular releLiving on automatic pilot
Throughout our lives, we develop beliefs, judgments,
vance for nurses in terms of self-care and optimal care
and habitual thinking patterns that may result in living in of patients.
an automatic or habit-driven way. Many of us are on
“automatic pilot,” with our bodies operating in a routine
Learning to be more mindful
pattern while our minds are somewhere else—usually
In 1979, Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachuanticipating future events or ruminating over something
setts Medical School developed the seminal mindfulthat has happened. This “mindless” way of living can
ness training program known as mindfulness-based
limit how we experience life, the choices we make, and
stress reduction (MBSR), in an attempt to reduce sufferthe quality of our relationships. It also can exacerbate
ing in patients with chronic pain. This highly strucfeelings of stress.
tured, 8-week group program includes training in exerMindfulness practices can help us recognize mental
cises to increase the capacity to be more mindful. Core
habits that limit our understanding of something or remindfulness practices in the MBSR program include the
strict our options for action. Consider, for example, how
body scan (learning to mentally tune in to body sensanegative self-talk can grip your attention and circle in
tions), gentle yoga (moving the body with attention
your mind like a hamster in a wheel. By being able to
and kindness), and breath awareness (focusing on the
notice when your mind is engaged in these common but sensations and experience of breathing). Research exunhelpful thinking patterns, you can bring attention to
amining the effects of MBSR training found significant
the feeling of the breath as it’s moving in and out of
improvements in the health and well-being of particiyour body or noticing the physical sensations of your
pants with various medical conditions.
body as it is right now. This intentional shifting of the
(continued on page 43)
American Nurse Today
step). This is where the work gets done. Create dedicated time on your daily or weekly calendar to write
your article. Preparing an outline and establishing
deadlines are helpful motivators. If more than one author will contribute to the manuscript, assign sections
to each one. Based on discussion and collaboration,
have one person edit the document so it reads as
though written in one voice. Once you write the first
draft, set it aside for a few days; then revisit it with
fresh eyes and make revisions. Consider asking a mentor with publishing experience to review your manuscript and provide feedback before you submit it.
Step 5: Acceptance (evaluation step). In the nursing
process, the evaluation step requires you to determine
if goals and expected outcomes have been met. In the
acceptance step of the writing process, you find out if
your manuscript has been accepted for publication. In
many cases, acceptance comes with edits, suggestions,
and queries you may need to answer to put the finishing touch on your article. Realize that being asked
to revise is a good outcome.
On the other hand, you may learn your article
wasn’t accepted for publication. As in nursing care,
your first intervention may not succeed—but as nurses,
we don’t give up. If your article isn’t accepted, you
can send a query letter to another journal, along with
your manuscript already prepared for submission.
(continued from page 13)
the risk of professional burnout. One randomized, controlled trial of nurses found those who participated in an
8-week mindfulness training program had significantly
fewer self-reported burnout symptoms, along with increases in relaxation, mindfulness, attention and improved family relations, compared to nurses in a control
group. (See Developing a more mindful nursing practice.)
Hundreds of hospitals, universities, and community
settings across the country and around the world offer
MBSR training. Also, MBSR and other related MBIs have
been developed to target specific nonclinical populations, such as business leaders, professional sports
teams, schoolteachers, and students. Instructional books,
websites, compact discs, and personal device applications are available to help people learn more about
Mindfulness and nursing
How can mindfulness help nurses? Greater awareness
and less distraction in the clinical setting can improve
your assessment skills (for instance, allowing you to
identify subtle changes in a patient’s condition) and your
performance of complex technical procedures that may
reduce the risk of clinical errors. Mindfulness can enhance your communication with patients and other
healthcare team members by bringing a greater awareness to how and what others are communicating. Listening and speaking with greater attention can lead to more
effective communication and better clinical outcomes,
particularly in crisis situations.
Moreover, research shows mindfulness training can
help nurses cope more effectively with stress and reduce
Tips for success
These additional suggestions can help you jump-start
your writing career.
• Acknowledge your mentor or others who’ve helped
you along the way. This will make them more willing to help you in the future.
• Use your own voice to help avoid plagiarism.
• To stay on track, dedicate time on your calendar for
• Consider creating a writing support group with colleagues who share your desire to publish. Invite
your writing mentor to support group meetings.
• Follow the steps of the writing process described
above. By associating the steps of the writing
process to those of the nursing process, you can improve your writing skills and achieve success in
Saver C. Anatomy of Writing for Publication for Nurses. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Sigma Theta Tau International; 2014.
Sarah Nantz is nurse manager of the observation units and Stephanie Britt is
nurse manager of the float pool at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North
Wiser and more compassionate care
Mindfulness is a way of living with greater attention and
intention and less reactivity and judgment. You can learn
and develop mindfulness through regular mindfulness
practices. Consider integrating mindfulness into your
self-care plan to reduce stress and minimize burnout.
Being more mindful and bringing receptivity to whatever is happening can deepen your understanding of
clinical situations, relationships with colleagues, and ultimately yourself. With this understanding comes the possibility of providing wiser and more compassionate care
for your patients and yourself.
Lois C. Howland is an associate professor at the University of San Diego and a
senior teacher at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of California, San
Diego. Susan Bauer-Wu is the director of the Compassionate Care Initiative and
the Tussi & John Kluge Endowed Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care at
the University of Virginia School of Nursing in Charlottesville.
American Nurse Today
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