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Leading From Within: Mindfulness for Health Care Leaders

Leading from Within: Mindfulness for Health Care Leaders 

Take the skills you already have and lighten your workload by reducing the interpersonal challenges that end up taking so much time.


No one promised that Leadership in Health Care
would be easy, but it doesn’t have to be as hard, either.

 

How do I know this? I was an extremely stressed, overly-striving, hyper-vigilant Nurse Director of a very busy New York City outpatient pain management department. During my first year, I also started training as a Pilates Instructor putting another 30 hours a week into my already overloaded schedule.

I loved my work and my Pilates practice. But I was getting sick. In fact, one day, walking the 4 blocks home from the subway station to my 5th floor walk-up apartment, I became so short of breath, I had to stop and rest several times.

Something had to give, but I wasn’t giving up my job or my new passion. So if I wasn’t going to change my outer world, I needed to change my inner world.

Work in healthcare is stressful, dynamic, full of disruptions and unpredictable.

Stress is a killer. It raises blood pressure, disrupts healthy insulin regulation, increases  inflammation, reduces healthy digestion, hardens arteries and decreases your immune response.  

It also strains communication and relationships, increasing the likelihood of unnecessary awkwardness and arguments or worse, a serious mistake in decision-making.

Nurse with headache and stressFor me, I was skating dangerously close to the thin ice of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and alienating my staff. I made the resolution that day to change how I worked with the stressors inherent in healthcare instead of being controlled by them.

As part of my graduate nursing degree the year before, I studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with the world renowned teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn. I learned that the actual stressors like negative staff, difficult doctors, scheduling physician interns and fellows, finding charts (we were on paper then!) and keeping patients happy, were not the cause of my stress.

It was that I didn’t know how to be in those situations and not be stressed.

Learning mindfulness changed all that. And interestingly, not only did my inner response to stress change, many of the problem areas also began to change (and some even disappeared) with my growing mindfulness skills navigating the very real day-to-day challenges when relating to the unpredictability of humans and technology.

I started with 15 minutes a day of a formal mindfulness meditation practice and worked up to 30 minutes. Within weeks, I saw a difference in how I felt and how I worked with my staff and colleagues.

And they noticed the change too. I regained  my health, enhanced my communication as a leader and created a highly collaborative work environment.

Getting Results from Mindfulness Practice

In the years since then, I’ve taught the practice of mindfulness to teams of Nursing Directors who said this was the most valuable leadership program they ever attended.

Their Executive Nursing Leaders noticed the difference in how they were problem solving, sharing limited resources and guiding and supporting the new Directors as they established themselves. The Executive Nurse Leaders asked me to start a mindfulness meditation study group for them, too, wanting to experience similar changes in themselves.

In subsequent cohorts of healthcare leaders, they consistently report experiencing a 40%- 50% reduction in stress when working with their “stressed-out bosses” and the same reduction when working with their “stressed-out staff.”

They also now bring mindfulness stress reduction strategies to their staff, encouraging them to recognize stressful communications (e.g. those high in frustration, irritation, anger, manipulation and grief)  with patients and staff and support their healthy resolution using mindfulness strategies.

Is Leading from Within for You?

If you are a Nurse Executive or Director and you want to better anticipate moments of stress without succumbing to them, then, yes, this program is for you.

This program takes the skills you already have and lightens your workload by reducing the interpersonal challenges that end up taking so much time.

Instead you will be gaining measurable amounts of time back into your day because you will:

  • Hear concerns and problems without showing your first reaction
  • Guide your teams and increase their efficacy in guiding themselves
  • Give constructive feedback eliminating defensive responses
  • Enhance teamwork and collaborative critical thinking
  • Hire and retain the best staff because you recognize confirmation bias
  • Effectively identify (and let go) those who are not meeting expected standards

 

Leading from Within: Mindfulness for Health Care Leaders

Your 7-Week Virtual Mindfulness-Based Leadership Program

As a Health Care Leader, what if you had a game-changing blueprint that helped you to:

    • Develop greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings so you know what triggers your stress and reactivity and how this impacts you and your leadership decisions.
    • Anticipate the hazards of stress and vulnerability of your direct reports and those you report to and engage with them without sacrificing yourself.
    • Increase your mental and emotional flexibility, adaptability and resilience working with the ever-changing forces in healthcare to reach your departmental and organizational goals with greater ease.

Leading from Within: Mindfulness for Health Care Leaders is a program designed specifically for Nurse Leaders and is grounded in Jackie Levin’s well-respected and vetted mindfulness program – Room to Breathe: Rewiring for Ease. 

It gives you the tools that help you:

  • Thrive amidst the everyday challenges at work  
  • Support the thriving of your teams and
  • Improve your personal health and wellbeing

In this course, Nurse Leaders join with their peers in this  7-session virtual program to learn the well-researched mindfulness practices that cultivate open, flexible and responsive mind-sets in you and in-turn, in your staff. 

You will also learn mindfulness strategies that

  • Increase your skill when working with difficult colleagues and staff
  • Enhance your responsiveness under pressure rather than rely on reactivity
  • Identify and address early signs of unsafe and unprofessional behaviors among your staff
  • Engender kindness and compassion for yourself and support this in your peers and your staff.

The Benefits:

Is This You| For You |

  • Deeper insight and awareness of how your mind operates so you get the results you desire
  • Greater ability to engage authentically and effectively with your staff, colleagues and bosses
  • Increase your emotional intelligence and personal wellbeing

| For Your Team |

  • Increase understanding, cohesiveness, trust, and alignment
  • Improve capacity to respond and use conflict as a way to enhance team building
  • Recognize their shared authority and accountability to cultivate healthy emotional work environments 
  • Increase staff engagement and retain your best staff

| For Your Organization |

  • Advance a common language that strengthens your organization’s mission, vision and goals
  • Strengthen interdepartmental collaboration breaking down departmental silos
  • Lay the foundation for growing authentic and transparent leadership


Leading from Within: Mindfulness for Health Care Leaders
Includes:

  • 7 powerful and strategic lessons, each including its own pre-recorded audio lessons and complete course guide
  • 6 guided audio meditation practices
  • A growing community of mindful health professionals who are learning and practicing mindfulness together, which has the added benefit of enhancing and growing interdepartmental relationships
  • 7 live 75-minute classes, held weekly, to practice together and apply mindfulness solution-based inquiry to leadership challenges and stressors
  • 7 past live audio class recordings, divided into 5-15 minute segments for additional teachings or as a make up for a missed class
  • 23 CNEs for Nurses awarded by the American Holistic Nursing Association

All Materials Provided Online and Downloadable


ONE NURSE DIRECTOR’S PERSONAL STORY

young nurse meditation on beachAllison was the Director of a busy med-surgical unit. She was quite likable, but she had a temper. If she heard anything went wrong during the shift, she would fly into a shouting rage at her staff. Her staff did their best to prevent her from hearing problems and that caused a whole other set of difficulties. If staff found an opening on another unit, they moved. It wasn’t a good situation, but everyone involved assumed there was nothing to be done about it.

Allison brought this to the Directors’ Mindfulness class one day. She knew her behavior wasn’t good, but she didn’t know how to change it. I taught her some mindfulness strategies to use in the moment when she found herself in that kind of situation, as well as reviewed the concepts and formal practices she learned already. Her peers were supportive and offered to be a sounding board.

Two weeks later, she came to class and shared her success story. The previous Monday morning, her staff came to her office after a hectic weekend. They told her about the few things that went wrong and Allison just sat there. Listening. The nurses looked at her confused, waiting for her usual response and then asked her, “Aren’t you going to yell and scream?” Allison said she took a moment to realize that she, in fact, had no desire to shout, fly off the handle, get mad. It just wasn’t there.

After she relayed this story, her peers sat in stunned silence. They all liked Allison, but had assumed they (and her staff) had to live with her outbursts. The group was congratulatory, which served to give Allison the momentum to keep working on this aspect of herself.


What you need to know about this program

Learning Materials and Course Time:  Full access Leading Edge Nursing’s online Room to Breathe: Rewiring for Ease mindfulness program for health professionals with 7 (75 minute) virtual classes to cultivate Leading from Within as a Nurse Leader.

LEADING FROM THE INSIDE OUT: CURRICULUM at a GLANCE

Class One: Become the Observer-Leader
Cultivate self-awareness and self-compassion amidst the noisy inner voices of the judge, critic and worrier.

Class Two: Patience is a Leadership Tool Bridging Your Logical and Conceptual Minds. 
Develop both left-brain (logical, analytical and sequential thinking) and right-brain (inventive, empathic, joyful) capacities through cultivation of patience and non-judging.

Class Three: Beginner’s Mind for the Novice and the Expert Leader
Work with curiosity (Beginner’s Mind) instead of fear reactions of “I have to know this already” to encourage open-mindedness and open-heartedness when facing difficult and challenging situations and people.

Class Four: Working with Pain—Yours, your staff and your leaders, as it arises physically, emotionally, spiritually.
Cultivate Acceptance by recognizing “what is” actually happening without the limiting filters of past “failures” or future anxiety clouding your vision or filtering out constructive input

Class Five: Mindful Communication that Transforms Dialogue from “I/Me” to “We/Us”
Activate the Mindful-Listening capacities with non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind and non-striving, for more effective, crisp, clear and precise communication.

Class Six: ____

Class Seven: Develop Strategies to Keep Your Mindfulness Practice Going
Cultivate the mindfulness concepts of Trust and Self-reliance to lessen the degree of second guessing and inaction in decision making.

SELF-ASSESSMENTS

Each leader participant will be asked to take Pre-course Assessment Survey that will measure their current stress level as well as common consequences of stress, using a 0-10 Likert scale. In addition, there will be short essay questions to describe the kinds of challenges you currently face and what you hope to gain by being in the course.

After the completion of the course, leader participants will be asked to fill out the Post-course Assessment Survey  to measure the changes experienced in their common symptoms of stress and relate changes they observed in their leadership style, communication and sense of well-being.

 

WHAT OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONAL LEADERS SAY AFTER LEARNING THE MINDFULNESS STRATEGIES FROM THE ‘LEADING FROM WITHIN’ PROGRAM:

“I was quite skeptical at first. And really only came for the free lunch. So I was really surprised to find this was the best leadership program I’d ever taken. It helped me be more supportive of my colleagues and my staff.”

“I found healthy ways to work with the stress of being a new director. I was scared and felt really isolated. Being in this course I was able to share my concerns and the other directors stepped up with all kinds of help and support.”

“Mindfulness now helps me depersonalize an aggressive approach by a disgruntled employee and look at underlying issues in a objective and mindful way.”

“I do not have to react to a stressor… I can choose another path. When I feel a “knee jerk” reaction coming over me, I breathe and give myself the freedom to think before responding.”

 

To learn more, contact Jackie here.

 

Jackie Levin

RN, MS, AHN-BC, NC-BC, CHTP

(206) 304-7703

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