Mindfulness Practices to Enhance the Locum Tenens Experience
Colin O’Brady walked his way into the record books by being the first solo, unassisted human to traverse Antarctica on foot. In an interview with Field Mag earlier this year, the explorer and endurance athlete explained how practicing mindfulness with every step helped him reach his destination. But you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to benefit from the art of being mindful. Indeed, the meditative tool can help with adjusting to new locum tenens jobs.
In light of August’s designation as National Wellness Month, we’ve assembled a brief overview of various mindfulness exercises and how you can utilize them along your locum tenens journey.
First, mindfulness generally is defined as a conscious awareness of the present moment and all it entails, such as current feelings, thoughts, senses, as well as the impact of your immediate environment. For some people, reaching that state entails traditional meditating, such as finding a quiet, solitary space where you can focus on breathing and tune out distractions. However, redefining what mindfulness means to you empowers individuals to practice it in any environment at any moment.
A Welcoming Openness
This state of mind describes the ability to shed preconceived ideas, making room to welcome in the new. Arriving at an unfamiliar facility for a short-term contract with an open mind means being willing to look at how the unit is set up and how it works for the permanent staff without determining how it isn’t what you are used to. Differences sometimes offer unexpected benefits or present alternative approaches that you can incorporate into future assignments.
Instead of focusing on the orientation or jumping ahead to how you will adapt to a new setting, switch your full attention toward the co-workers as you meet them. Although a simple gesture, that polite, dedicated engagement could encourage staff to reciprocate the friendly welcome. Also, by being an attentive listener, you may pick up on key bits of information regarding how the unit functions or interesting tidbits that will help you learn people’s names more quickly, which is appreciated by all.
Much has been reported about the increasing rate of burnout among healthcare professionals. A recent study by MetLife found that 42 percent of healthcare workers feel stress on the job, and nearly the same percentage has feelings typically associated with burnout. Practicing mindfulness can help individuals cope with these conditions. The act of taking an inventory of the moment, when appropriate and time permitting, along with calming breaths can help release stress and regain perspective.
Focusing on Quality Attention
A core characteristic to mindfulness is a higher degree of attention given to people and tasks. In many ways, that’s a key factor to locum tenens practice, too. Without the addition of administrative responsibilities and meetings, physicians, NPs, PAs, and CRNAs have the freedom to direct more of their attention toward patient care. Also, downtime while on assignment is more flexible, not automatically filled with to-dos. This frees up your thoughts after work to concentrate on me-time or checking in with family without multitasking. In fact, providers who pursue locum tenens full time are able to give loved ones their full attention between assignments without daily commutes, office hours, or work interruptions.
Working locum tenens offers many benefits, like giving individuals the opportunity to explore communities and find out what makes them unique. Being open to meeting people outside the job and engaging in different activities simply for the fun it could be considered another form of mindfulness. Plus, enjoying oneself helps to minimize work-related stressors and adds personal rewards to the locum tenens experience.
At All Star Healthcare Solutions, we’re committed to supporting providers throughout your locum tenens journey. Call 800-928-0229, or contact us online, to speak with one of our dedicated consultants.