I remember being close to graduation. The pressure to complete final projects, apply for a job and all the anxiety and relief that surrounds that time. Laptops opened and eyes focused as they typed furiously before I began.
"Please mute your cellphone but keep it close by, you will need it at the conclusion. And take off your shoes", I invited.
From my heart I spoke about our nursing culture. Our critical need to change the consciousness of healthcare to include self care. Especially the need to prioritize self care for those of us called to care for the ill, us nurses.
YogaNursing® provides a tactical self-care formula for nurses through the "Sacred Remedy" of sacred breathing, sacred movement and sacred rest. This is a safe and simple program that once learned by a nurse, can be shared with her patient. Nurses are at risk for compassion fatigue and have very high rates of occupational burnout, 40%.
Our patients have emotional, physical, mental and social needs and as the hub of the healthcare wheel, they look to us to advocate,educate and comfort. We motivate, inspire, comfort and counsel. One sentence from their Doctor may take us minutes or longer to explain. We are licensed to therapeutically touch. But our doing can be our undoing.
Our nursing culture can be unkind to new nursing graduates. Unexpected assignment overload, difficult scheduling and frankly- bullying. Know what you may encounter and develop a tactical strategy to face your new world; through the "Sacred Remedy" the signature program of nurse wellness.
One by one the laptops began to close. We practiced Yoga three part breath and ocean breathing. We examined the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and how a nurse is ever alert and can never be lured into complacency by the mundane. We practiced the seven essential poses of YogaNursing and their individual modifications.
Then the science of nursing united with the wisdom of yoga for a guided meditation. The students came to a comfortable seated position and one body part at a time allowed softness and relaxation to permeate the body, releasing tension.
In the subdued silence that followed the guided meditation, I quietly invited the students to turn the cellphone camera on and pass it to their seatmate. "Have a picture taken of your hands". As they looked back to me I gave these final words.
"When you come to that day in your nursing career, when you are overwhelmed, exhausted and defeated, when you ask yourself, "Why the hell am I doing this job?"- look at this photo. Yours are the hands of a healer. You are here for the patient. We help our patients live in peace and die in peace. This calling to serve the ill is a treasure. Your patients will love you for it."
Congratulations to VCU ABSN students as you become Nurses. It was an honor for me to touch every hand of yours as you journey forth.
Please Take Care of Yourself!