Staff give Ko Awatea’s’ mindfulness programme the thumbs up
Next week, as the world descends on New Zealand to share and learn at the 4th Annual APAC Forum 2015, mindfulness will play a significant part.
Now a well recognised and proven intervention for mental health, as well as an increasingly used tool for resilience and stress management, mindfulness has a wealth of research backing and the support of well-respected clinicians and celebrities.
APAC Forum keynote speaker and renowned comedienne Ruby Wax is among the proponents of the technique, and holds a master’s degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Oxford University.
Ruby will demonstrate some mindfulness techniques during her keynote presentation and says the practice has played a significant part in managing her well-documented depression.
Increasingly, mindfulness is also being used in workplace settings, to help with focusing attention, stress management, and emotional intelligence. Google and the US Army are among some of the high profile organisations to adopt mindfulness in the workplace.
Ko Awatea is currently delivering Mindfulness Based Resilience at Work for Counties Manukau Health staff.
The course is run over a period of four weeks, and delivered in two-hour sessions, says co-facilitator and clinical psychologist Dr Jo Soldan.
Jo says participants are encouraged to practice mindfulness in between formal training sessions, for around 30 to 45 minutes a day as mindfulness needs to be experienced – not simply learnt theoretically.
They are also encouraged to continue to maintain their practice after the course, through a number of means, including email newsletters, stickers, drop in sessions and the creation of a ‘mindful nest’ – a space in Ko Awatea’s Middlemore Hospital-based premises for staff to use to take a mindful break.
The Mindfulness Based Resilience at Work course is an adapted version of the eight- week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course, developed by Jon Kabat Zin within the University of Massachusetts, in which both teachers are trained.
To date, over 400 Counties Manukau Health staff have completed the Mindfulness Based Resilience at Work course with overwhelmingly positive results.
In a recent survey of participants, ninety five per cent of them felt there had been some or great positive change in their ability to handle stressful situations, and 100 per cent of them would recommend the course to colleagues, Jo says.
Participants reported feeling “more able to focus on the moment”, “more relaxed and alert in dealing with stressful issues”, and one gleefully declared he/she was “singing again”.
Further feedback, including staff noting they are as present with their first patients as they are with their last, and that they feel more able to listen to patients, has encouraged Jo, who is now keen to research the patient safety impact of healthcare staff practising mindfulness at work.
Ko Awatea is engaging with several other DHBs to see how Mindfulness Based Resilience at Work may be used in their settings.
During the APAC Forum 2015, Jo and Dianne May, co-director of Mindfulness Auckland, will be facilitating the intensive workshop; Workplace Mindfulness: Building Resilience in Frontline Healthcare, on 23 September.
The APAC Forum will run 23-25 September 2015 at Auckland’s SKYCITY Convention Centre. It is organised by Ko Awatea, a centre of health innovation and improvement within Counties Manukau Health.