Mindful Meditation for SCH Employees

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the stress melt away. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Throughout the year, SCH’s Mindful Meditation Initiative (MMI) offers monthly meditation courses to teach participants how to practice meditation as well as how it can be integrated into their daily lives.  Each 30-minute class includes guided meditation instruction, support and resources for practicing medication outside of class. Studies show that meditation can not only decrease stress, anxiety and depression but can reduce inflammation, pain and the effects of trauma to the body.  In addition, meditation can have a dramatic impact on a person’s job performance, by improving problem solving abilities, creativity, short-term memory, and tolerance.

The initiative was created in 2018 at the request of the SCH’s Physicians Advisory Board who were looking for innovative methods to prevent and treat staff burn-out and increase patient satisfaction.  An 8-week pilot course was developed in response. The pilot MMI included a weekly schedule of 30-minute meditation classes scheduled throughout the day. Four different types of meditation were taught, and participants were encouraged to attend at least 2 classes per week while continuing the practice on their own.

Staff feedback from the MMI pilot was overwhelmingly positive. Staff members reported benefits such as increased patience, sense of calm, resilience and focus, reduced anxiety and blood pressure and an increased ability to find calm in moments of stress.  As some of the participants explain:

After six weeks of classes, mediation has allowed me to slow down, especially when things start spiraling out of control. It has also enabled me to fall asleep faster. L. B., Access Services

A meditation break allows me a renewed focus on my work; it helps me focus on my thoughts and allows me to feel positive throughout the day. Meditation has helped me with my blood pressure. It used to fluctuate throughout the day, but it is now back to normal. A. A., MSO Coding

These sessions helped me immensely with just relaxing and emptying my mind. I have become more adept at meditating now thanks to the program.
-G. S., Legal Affairs

After participating in the meditation class I have seen measurable changes in my blood pressure, sleep quality and overall level of calm. I have signed up for additional classes because the first was so helpful. -Y. S., Wound Care

Working in a hospital can be a chaotic environment. The class allows me to focus my thoughts on the present and be in the moment. In order to deliver the best outcomes for my patients, I must be attentive and responsive to their needs, and not allow my focus to stray to other issues that I may be juggling in the course of my work day. These medication classes allow me to stay focused and perform at a higher level for my patients.
-E. O., Occupational Therapy

Meditation makes me more aware of my breathing and provide me with a sense of calm. In a hospital setting we are often engaged with patients at a difficult moment in their life. If we enter in a state of calm, we are more likely to be the kind of presence that a patients needs in the moment and less likely to absorb the patient’s distress in unhealthy ways.
-K. L., Women’s Health Center

Due to the success of the 8-week pilot course and the growing interest among other hospital staff members (including the Trauma Informed Work Group and nursing leadership), SCH’s Foundation Board provided funding to expand the MMI to a year-round program, free and accessible, to all employees.  This expanded program will not only benefit the participating SCH staff member but the patients with whom they interact.  As Kayla Kulans, Wellness Program Manager explains, “The aim of SCH’s Mindful Meditation Initiative is to not only bring this highly beneficial practice to individual employees but to create a staff community that is more focused, resilient, patient and mindful.”  To learn more about the Foundation’s other donor-funded programs or how you can donate and make a difference, please contact us at: foundation@swedishcovenant.org or (773) 293-5121 

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