Mindfulness – A focused approach to staff wellbeing

During the year, Nexus has embarked on a group wide initiative to provide mindfulness training to staff across all our hospital sites.  We believe strongly in the adage that if we are well, our wellness spills over onto others. This is critical if we are to provide exceptional care for patients in our facilities each and every day.

The healthcare sector is one of the most stressful and demanding work environments.  Multiple studies have shown mindfulness can reduce stress, improve attention levels, provide greater clarity of thinking, increase self-awareness and improve emotional regulation.  These are all worthy outcomes in their own right, let alone the benefits to be gained for a team in a work setting if individuals experience combined impacts.

At our national Nexus Leaders meeting in April this year, mindfulness expert Michael Bunting spoke to our hospital leaders about the practice of mindfulness and its impact on wellbeing.  Michael explained that Mindfulness is effectively maintaining an awareness of our thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations and environment in the present moment.  Being truly mindful is about experiencing and accepting the present moment as it really is   –  not as we want it to be, think it should be or perceive it to be, but as it really is.

Michael’s talk was extremely well received and there was a strong consensus from our hospital leaders that they wanted to share the benefits of a mindfulness practice with staff.  In June, Nexus agreed to fund a national roll-out of the Awakened Mind app, developed by Michael Bunting and his team, to all interested staff across the Nexus group. The app is designed to allow individuals to undertake an 8-week training program in their own time and integrate both formal and informal mindfulness practices into their daily routine.

The early results from our initial roll-out of this program have been extremely encouraging.  We have had uniform feedback from participating staff that it has brought teams closer together and improved working relationships.  Outsiders have observed increased composure and collaboration in several of the hospital teams.  Individuals have also reported a myriad of benefits including an increased ability to remain balanced and to cope in stressful situations, improved sleep habits, undertaking new physical exercise programs, ceasing smoking and committing to better eating habits.

We’re delighted with the impact this initiative has had and we have committed to fund the app over the next twelve months to allow staff to continue accessing support for their individual use and guided meditations.  Of course, the program has not been for everyone and the use of the app has allowed each individual to make their own choices in this regard.

For those wanting to understand more about the Awakened Mind program or mindfulness in general, we can recommend the following resources:
The Mindful Leader, by Michael Bunting published by Wiley.
Awakened Mind app, available on iTunes.