Fostering resilience in our returners

5 June 2018

Gelong Thubten from The Samye Foundation in Wales recently came and spoke to a group of Return to Practice Nurses (RTP) from Cardiff University.

Cardiff University, School of Healthcare Sciences new Return to Practice students had the chance to attend a mindfulness session on the first day of their new course. Like many others, The Higher Education Academy is advocating for University’s to consider building more mental wellbeing into their curriculum. By doing so, we could maximise ways of learning and the overall student experience.

Gelong Thubten hosted a session for the School’s new students to talk to them about how mindfulness could help them on their journey to return to their nursing profession. He discussed the growing problem of compassion fatigue, which many health care professionals are facing on a day-to-day basis. Gelong summarised this as wanting to deliver your all at work, be always caring and compassionate, but then becoming unmotivated as a result of facing constant challenges. He told the students that in this situation, practicing mindfulness is similar to taking your brain to the gym. It will, in a relatively short time, result in a reduction of stress and improve their concentration levels. Discussion went on to emphasise that the results will be far reaching, it will benefit not only the students but also those they come into contact with; colleagues, relatives and ultimately patients.

After outlining the theory, Gelong spent time with the group exploring their fears as new students. The students expressed their main concerns over being able to juggle a clinical job alongside studying and family commitments, fearing the new experience and therefore the unexpected.

Gelong told them how proud he was of them in their choice of profession. He advised the students that they should remind themselves why they were choosing to come back to the profession and to concentrate more on the potential opportunities now available to them. He encouraged them to see their new goals as positive challenges, rather than fears.

The students participated in a brief mindfulness exercise. After just a few minutes the majority of the group said they felt more relaxed and much less stressed.

One student described the experience as ‘gorgeous, useful and interesting’. Others went on to say that, ‘the session was a nice start to the course, which they felt reassured by- that those running the programme were aware of their emotional wellbeing’.

Another student commented “I did not know he was coming today and was too awestruck to comment straight after, but was so pleased you managed to get him to come and speak to us. I have just recently started practicing mindfulness, I’m so glad to have partaken in this and have been smiling like a Cheshire Cat all day. I can’t wait to tell everyone about it!

To find out more about Gelong and the Samye Foundation click here.

Or, to find out more information on The HEA related studies on Student Wellbeing click here.