Reflection: When the Nurse Becomes the Patient

Gut check selfie.
Gut-check selfie.  Listening for bowel sounds in the lower left quadrant on post-op day one...been there, done that.

Admit it.  If you're a nurse, you've probably busted your stethoscope out to listen to your kid, your spouse...and maybe even yourself?  I recently caught myself - and caught up with myself in the same moment.

Here's the backstory.  I've logged more time as a patient than as a nurse in the last six months, to include a surprise cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) on April 1 - no foolin'.  Last week at my post-hospital follow-up appointment, my Primary Care Provider suggested I seek out a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program for its scientifically proven benefits for others who have struggled with the chronic issues I've been wrestling: asthma, migraines, and GI distress.  I'm committed to a nursing practice that starts with self care, so the notion of tapping into an internal resource to help heal what's ailing (among countless other benefits) had immediate appeal.  Add to that, two friends and nurse colleagues I hold in high regard have taken MBSR training and offer rave reviews...stay tuned for a guest post later this week!

There are upwards of 700 venues to take MBSR, worldwide.  Fluidity in time, cost, and flexibility are paramount for my participation at this juncture.  After a little surfing, I've landed on an online venue that is modeled after the University of Massachusetts Medical School's program founded by Jon-Kabat-Zinn, generously offered at no cost by a proclaimed, fully certified MBSR instructor.  Thank you, Dave Potter at Palouse Mindfulness for sharing this gift!
Foreshadowing?
Foreshadowing?  Pulling this title forward on my bookshelf among other activities to get in the mindfulness mood this week.  Note, this is not required text for the MBSR training.
I've started printing my MBSR Manual and reacquainting myself with the study of mindfulness this week - to include dusting off a book in my home library that I bought some 22 years ago, Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, referenced founder of The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine's Stress Reduction Clinic, the place of origin of MBSR.
Care to join me on this 8-week online training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction? 

The price is right (free!) and you can access the course content and practices from anywhere.  This is my first foray into creating a discussion group around a topic that matters to me personally and professionally.  I'd love some company (and accountability) for the ride!

You can follow the highlighted links above to the free online course offering or seek out a venue or offering that resonates with you.  As I mentioned, there are upward of 700 venues, many offering live, instructor lead content and many offering CEUs (with potential for reimbursement for those who have education dollars to spend).

I plan to start my 8-week course this coming Sunday, April 17.  I'm told to account for about 30 minutes of practice per day during the two-month training, and to include a little extra time for watching video resources provided on 'day one' of each new week in the program.

Feel free to comment here, on the Facebook post, or email me at: natalie@thereflectivenurse.com to jump into the MBSR dialogue at any time over the next couple months!  I'll be creating a Facebook group to log weekly progress and anecdotal findings along this 8-week path to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  Please reach out in any of the aforementioned routes to connect and request an invitation to the group.

Caregiver stress is real.  We can easily lose sight of self-care as we dole it out to others.  Hindsight, my tenacity in pushing through some of my own health issues to keep caring for others escalated matters to a state of health that was sub-par to the outcomes I aspire to deliver others.  As a nurse mentor recently reminded me, "You can't pour from and empty cup.  Take care of yourself first."

I think that nurses and caregivers of all kinds get very good at operating with our gas lights on.  Join me for this opportunity to fill the tank and to stop running on fumes.  Here's to starting best practice with our own self-care!

Natalie

PS: You need not be a nurse to join this dialogue or MBSR training!

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