Mindfulness, Truthfulness, Carefulness at the Bedside
January 31, 2014
In a post last week in HH&N Daily, Dr. Wendy Leebov, Ed.D, was most articulate in arguing why mindfulness is the key to transforming healthcare. She detailed the components of mindful actions in a way that calls for all of us in healthcare to seriously ask ourselves, “If we are not being mindful in our daily practice, what are we doing?”
Being mindful is conscious intent, living life on purpose, and being fully present in the moment. Its opposite could be described as being distracted, indifferent, indecisive, unaware, mind-less.
In her Caritas processes, Dr. Jean Watson, Ph.D. laces mindful caring throughout her description and theory of Caring Science. HeartMath’s technologies are all about being conscious and responsible for what we think, how we respond, and how to be heart-focused. Twelve-step programs call for total responsibility for being not only of service, but being decisively honest about our motives and the consequences of our actions.
Leebov’s words aren’t far from what Florence Nightingale demanded from nursing when she stated that the job of the nurse was to put the patient in the best position for recovery and then defined the actions needed to do just that. Basically, Nightingale insisted that every aspect of care be done on purpose, and that the caregiver, to whom the health and life of each patient has been entrusted, be fully present to the patient and the caring at hand.
Mindfuless, then, is not new or isolated from other concepts that promote patient-centeredness and the optimal patient experience.
A healing environment inspires and supports mindful care at the bedside, and mindful care at the bedside requires a healing environment. A healing environment continually reassures patients that every detail was tended to for their sake.
It is evidence of purposeful caring and the highest level of excellence. It is is not a set of amenities, but the embodiment of compassion and the intent to heal.
A Buddhist monk once described mindfulness as “washing the dishes to wash the dishes rather than washing the dishes to get them done.”
Mindfulness in healthcare is authentically caring for a patient to care for that patient, rather than caring for a patient to raise HCAHPS scores.
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