Mindfulness class for health care providers

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital is offering an eight-week mindfulness class for its health care providers. Once a week, 25 nurses and doctors come together to learn how to be mindful and focus on themselves.

"Intentional, present moment, non-judgemental, awareness," Alex McGee, MDiv., a chaplain at Sentara Martha Jefferson, said as she was describing the four concepts the class uses to remind them to be mindful.

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and is a core program at the University of Virginia Mindfulness Center. The class includes breathing exercises, stretches and other mindful practices that are adapted specifically for healthcare providers.

"Mindfulness is those moments of pausing, and thinking OK. What do I need for renewal so my cup is full, so I can keep showing up for other people," McGee said.

Taking this pause not only reduces stress and helps to deepen the connection with themselves, but it also helps health care providers form deeper connections with their patients and others.

"When we see our care providers, what we remember, is sort of, those moments when we feel really connected and heard and paid attention to and seen, not just for our medical issue, but as a person," Peggy Bishop, NP., a team coordinator for Palliative Care at Sentara Martha Jefferson.

In addition for forming stronger bonds, health care providers can recommend suitable mindfulness programs for their patients who can apply these practices in their lives as well.

"It's a practice you can bring into anything you're doing. You can bring a mindfulness approach to bathing your child, to cooking dinner, to walking, to laying still, to being in an interaction with a person," Bishop said.

At the end of the eight weeks, participants will attend an all-day silent retreat to apply what they have learned and have a full day of being mindful and self-aware.

The Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital staff are able to attend these classes and pass on their wisdom thanks to community donors and the Martha Jefferson Foundation.

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