Hello to all you Star Wards stars!
I’m Sam Wilson, ward worker and newsletter editor. Thank you for reading my blog! This is my third blog in total but my second as Star Wards newsletter editor. I’m really glad and a bit honoured that you’ve come back for a read of this one!
Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the latest newsletter. It’s amazing to read about all the news from your ward! If you have a piece of ward news to shout about, please get in touch! We have over 500 Star Wards members who I know will be inspired by it.
In this blog I’m following on from a feature from the Winter 2015 newsletter which features self-soothe boxes – a mindful resource, of sorts. So the topic of this blog will be being mindful.
Being Positively Mindful
Working on a ward myself I know at times how valuable it is to celebrate and praise the brilliant work that happens on wards every day.
The practice of Mindfulness has become trendy in recent years and isn’t just a Buddhist practice but something anyone can try, even (and especially!) inpatients and ward staff. Mindfulness is a very simple concept with profound benefits. It’s all about paying attention to the present moment with focus and without judgement. It can be really rewarding to allow yourself a few minutes, however brief, to be mindful of all the amazing things staff and the patients do from moment to moment. When we are mindful we can let go of any negatives and savour the positives while they last. When patients talk with me I try my best to be really there with them and to get a real sense of what they’re explaining to me. It’s not always easy, but I believe we have a ‘mindfulness muscle’ which can be cultivated and strengthened the more we use it.
I know wards can be busy places but I try to find five minutes to allow myself time to see things in perspective, including all the positives of my day. Just these few minutes allow me to be mindful of all the effort, inspiration and hard work that is put in to each therapeutic or clinical activity throughout a shift. A sort of mindful little pat on the back!
Being mindful of all the positive contributions you have on your ward will reflect in the experience of the patients you care for. I found proof of this recently by reading a group feedback form. The patient explained ‘the staff member leading the group was helpful and passionate, which rubbed off onto my attitude for the rest of the day’.
It’s all the better if you can influence any positive parts of your patient’s attitude, equally your work can have a positive impact upon patients who may be facing anxiety or a period of distress.
To sign off I would like to wish you all a very happy (and mindful!) Christmas! If you’re working over the festive period, I hope you have a lovely time on your ward. You’ll no doubt help to make it special even if the patients do not feel like celebrating the season.