Introduction

Module Summary

Balancing human intimacy and professional distance, and remaining appropriately present and compassionate, may be recognized as a valuable individual competence. This competence can be taught, and effectively enhanced, through self-awareness and mindful meditation which holds potential for promoting well-being and stress management in healthcare professionals. This module includes the methods which lead to stronger awareness about caring for oneself.

Key areas covered

  • The need for a self-care culture.
  • Personality and emotional intelligence, especially the meta-cognitive capacity of the individual.
  • Mindful meditation as a source of strength for preventing the hidden effects of stress, and for strengthening the ability to pay attention to the present moment.
  • Storytelling and writing as healing, and the therapeutic connections between storytellers and listeners.
  • The importance of face-to-face interaction.

Learning outcomes

  1. How to apply mindfulness in stressful situations
  2. How to prevent burn-out
  3. How to rely on one’s own vulnerability to create long- term support and emotional resilience.

Importance of module to healthcare delivery

Research studies demonstrate the value to an organization and to individuals of educating healthcare professionals about self-care. The critical nature of self-care cannot be underestimated. Organisations must seek to actively manage the daily and relentless stress, which is often of a traumatic nature. Professionals who do not incorporate this practice of caring for oneself will experience health issues over time, many of which could compromise professional decision-making, and have a negative impact on their personal lives.   

Importance of module to individual healthcare professionals

The potential effects of self-care techniques to increase healthcare professionals’ effectiveness and influence positive patient care outcomes have often been underestimated. Today, healthcare professionals experience increased stress as a result of factors that include greater working hours and intensified patient loads. This context can lead to burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and secondary traumatic stress. Being aware of individual reaction patterns is vital to learning more effective coping and mindful mechanisms. Self-care techniques and exercises can be one source of relieving these stresses. Moreover, most self-care skills can be learned and implemented in a short period of time, and when integrated into a regular practice, can have long-term positive affects.