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Practicing Mindfulness for Better Patient Experiences – Healthcare Experience Matters Podcast

September 2, 2021

Kathleen Lynam, an Executive Coach and Senior Advisor with the Healthcare Experience Foundation (HXF) PRC Excellence Accelerator® Coach joins today’s episode of our HXF partners’ Healthcare Experience Matters podcast. Mindfulness and the ongoing, positive impact it can have on the patient experience was at the heart of today’s chat with Kathleen.

In case you missed it, Kathleen recently joined the podcast for a moving discussion on empathy and communication.

“Mindfulness and empathy are connected and are probably my two favorite things to talk about,” she said.

Kathleen is passionate about serving patients and coaching others on improving the patient experience. She worked for 18 years as a registered nurse with The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J. before joining HXF. At Valley, she rose from a position of staff nurse to Vice President of Acute and Ambulatory Services during her journey caring for patients.

What is Mindfulness?

As we learn during today’s podcast with Kathleen, mindfulness can be defined as the quality or state of being conscious. It is about being aware of the present moment and not judging or reacting harshly to others and circumstances.

We know in healthcare, researchers think that because mindfulness involves attentiveness, curiosity, and presence, it promotes a greater awareness of the self and others.

This awareness might help clinicians better attend to the experience of others and enable them to respond to their patients with more understanding, empathy, and compassion.

Mindfulness has the potential to prevent compassion fatigue and burnout.

Healthcare providers who are self-aware are more likely to engage in self-care activities and to manage stress better. They may also be better equipped to foster wellness in their patients. These efforts can drastically improve the experience of our patients while fostering healthy workplace environments and culture.

“When we manage stress better, we are better able to help foster wellness in patients and the families we care for,” Kathleen said.

Mindfulness vs. Meditation

Kathleen does a fantastic job describing the differences and similarities between mindfulness and meditation. While the two are related, they are distinctly different.

“Mindfulness is a quality while meditation is a practice,” Kathleen told us.

We learned that certain types of meditation can assist us in becoming more mindful, so it’s important to be aware of the benefits of meditation and how it can help our focus.

Becoming Mindful

Becoming mindful of our emotions is an exercise that can empower and deepen the relationship we have with ourselves, and our relationships with others. Mindfulness of emotions require:

  • non-judgment,
  • compassion, and
  • curiosity.

“We know people that practice mindfulness have greater job satisfaction and they have reported improved feelings of joy at work,” Kathleen told us.

Since most of us got into this field of medicine because we wanted to care for others, reigniting that joy at work and bringing joy to others, are important benefits of practicing mindfulness, Kathleen added.

“Mindfulness is really healthy for all of us—for those that practice it and for those that receive it,” Kathleen said.

Learn More
Make sure to listen to today’s podcast via the podcast player embedded below to learn more about mindfulness and its impact on the patient experience: