10:17 AM

Mindfulness Group for Nurses

Through the month of February, Counseling and Disabilities Services will offer a mindfulness group for nursing students each Monday. Laura Castronovo, LMSW, will lead each workshop.

Being MindfulDates: Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25

Time: 3 p.m.

Contact: Laura Castronovo, LMSW (castrolj@stthom.edu)

Spaces are limited.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the intentional, non-judgmental awareness of the present moment. Many people have experienced the feeling of being on autopilot: For example, the sudden realization that, upon pulling your car into the driveway after a long day of work, you cannot remember anything about the drive home that you just made.

“Many of us spend a large part of our day like this and as a result we can miss out on the things around us and can get caught in ways of thinking that are unhelpful,” Castronovo said. “I believe everyone could benefit from being more present and mindful, especially in the busy, stressful, world that we live in.”

Mindfulness can be used to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain. The practice has also been found to increase focus, attention, empathy and happiness.

“You can try out mindfulness by simply bringing awareness to an everyday activity, such as doing the dishes, eating a meal or brushing your teeth,” Castronovo said. “Notice the temperature of the water, the scent of the soap, the feeling of the sponge in your hand. When your mind wanders, which it will, just acknowledge that and then bring the awareness back to the activity you are doing.”

Mindfulness for Nursing Students

Nursing student doing patient simulation at University of St. Thomas in Houston, TexasThe healthcare profession involves work in fast-paced environments with stressful situations. Taking into consideration the unique and challenging nursing program, CDS tailored the program toward nursing students to help them navigate their future careers.

“If students can be equipped with skills to help manage this stress and reduce burnout, we are helping to set them up for success,” Castronovo said. “Nursing involves a number of repetitive tasks. Bringing a conscious awareness to these tasks and avoiding ‘autopilot’ is important for patient safety. Being present and in tune to the moment can also help a nurse identify changes in their patients’ conditions.”

At each session, students will have the opportunity to participate in guided mindfulness meditations. Different meditation styles will be offered to allow participants to find which method works best for them. Discussions will also be held, covering topics such as acceptance, observing self, decision-making and self-compassion