Friday, 18 December 2015

MIndful NHS

I have been practising mindfulness techniques in my work as a nurse in the clinical environment for a while, now. I am finding it works well. So much so, that I am beginning to measure its effectiveness and outcome in my patients. I have also run some introductory mindfulness sessions for staff, to help them de-clutter for a while before heading back into their work. I am keen on developing this much further: I have so many ideas to put into practice. Models and clinical plans to develop, deliverable in a variety of methods. I am so excited about what I can do. But I need investment. The NHS, as we all know, is in a critical period, with a possible £2.5bn deficit looming over the nation’s health service. I am so passionate about what mindfulness can do to help patients and staff, and how it can help improve the service at national and local level.
So it was exciting to read how doctors should be taught mindfulness during their training. As someone who knows the NHS from the inside, works with a variety of patients and has undertaken mindfulness training, I couldn’t agree more. The all-party parliamentary group on well-being economics recognise a need to train doctors (and teachers) in mindfulness. But it needs proper investment, it needs to be done carefully, considerately; and with the patient and staff’s best interests at heart. I believe I am able to deliver training and support to both staff and patients. I’m chomping at the bit to get going on this project, knowing that my methods have shown positive results; and that staff need the help to deal with the workload and manage stress every day. Mental health and mindfulness is the tip of the iceberg: I want to embed mindfulness into NHS culture. There is so much potential here, who can afford to ignore it?

Nikki Harman is a mindfulness tutor to adults and children; and a nurse who works in an acute NHS trust in England. All enquiries to

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