53: Mindfulness Based Stillness for Nurses- Louise Bobbitt, RN, PgDipNurs

About Louise Bobbitt

Louise Bobbitt, RN, PgDipNurs

 

I am Louise; a Registered Nurse and Integrative Nurse coach.

 

I moved from England to New Zealand with my young family in 2004. I have  completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Transfusion Medicine at the University of Melbourne and a Post graduate Diploma in Nursing with Distinction at Massey University in NZ.

 

I have worked in a variety of settings as a senior nurse and clinical nurse specialist including hematology and more recently oncology. 

 

Through a challenging period I discovered a passion for Mindfulness and Meditation and completed courses  including Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Mindful Self Compassion. 

 

Following attendance at a Deepening Meditation retreat run by Dr Ian Gawler I returned to the Gawler Cancer Foundation in Australia 3 more times to train as a Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation Teacher. 

 

Whilst working in oncology and caring for those affected by breast cancer I developed an interest in helping my patients to improve their overall health and wellness as well as guiding them towards living well after cancer treatment.

 

I was keen to develop my knowledge in a more formal way so that I could further benefit my patients and coach them towards living well with cancer and thriving after cancer treatment has finished. 

 

After attending an introductory workshop on Integrative Nurse Coaching run by Heather Leong and Anah Aikman I was inspired to complete the professional training with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy and the International Nurse Coach Association. 

 

I have also had an interest in holistic nursing and have also trained in the past as a Professional Massage and Aromatherapist and am a Reiki Master.

 

Following a period of ill health leading to being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I made a commitment to improving my lifestyle in the same way I was helping my patients. I sought the assistance of a functional medicine doctor and have radically changed my diet and alongside getting regular exercise, a good nights sleep and learning to manage stress and am in the continuing process of becoming healthier and happier. 

Contact

lbobbitt@inursecoach.com

53: Mindfulness Based Stillness for Nurses- Louise Bobbitt, RN, PgDipNurs Highlights

“Being fully present, allows me to get into touch with the wonders of life and the wonders of everything around. And I find that incredibly nourishing, and I find that incredibly healing. And I know, from the 10 years or more that I’ve been doing mindfulness, that I’ve become a stronger person in myself.”  ~Louise Bobbitt, RN, PgDipNurs

Ah-Has

  • Mindfulness brings us to the present moment, not worrying about the past, or being anxious about the future
  • Mindfulness can help with suffering, anxiety, emotions hidden away, forgiveness, how to recognize feelings and how to recognize and be with them
  • Mindfulness helps with personal honesty, instead of hiding from self
  • Mindfulness practices lead to gratitude
  • Mindfulness extends into personal and professional life, relationships, and decision making
  • Learn quick mindfulness practices to support you at work, like rapid relaxation and mini meditations and 3 minute breathing space

Resources and Links

Louise Bobbitt’s website in New Zealand:  Mind Your Body

Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation for Nurses Course

Provision 5 of the Nursing Code of Ethics

Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program

Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing textbook with mindfulness practice scripts

*****

Thank you for listening. We LOVE Nurses!

53: Mindfulness Based Stillness for Nurses- Louise Bobbitt, RN, PgDipNurs Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host and I’m also a Board Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And I am so excited because in the background we’ve been working diligently to have our next guest on the podcast. Her name is Louise Bobbitt, we go back quite a few years with Louise Bobbitt.

And she is from New Zealand, from a city outside Auckland called Whenuapai. And it’s exciting because we have been looking forward to having her on our podcast because she is the creator and the facilitator of one of our specialty courses.

And she is hosting and has put her heart and soul into the Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation for Nurses course. And we’ll be talking a lot about that course today and exactly what it means to Louise to have a course like this to support Nurses in their mindfulness journey. So, I have been really excited and looking forward to having Louise on the podcast. So without further ado, let’s invite Louise Bobbitt to the podcast.

Louise Bobbitt  01:22

Hi, Nicole, thank you very much. A lovely introduction.

Nicole Vienneau  01:27

Can you tell I’ve been excited about this?

Louise Bobbitt  01:30

I can. Yes. It has been a while.

Nicole Vienneau  01:35

It’s okay, we come to these things when we’re ready. Right?

Louise Bobbitt  01:39

Absolutely.

Nicole Vienneau  01:40

And honoring each other for that. So, yes. I feel really blessed to spend this time together with you. And to invite you to share a little bit about your story. And we always go back a little on history lane to talk about how you discovered Nursing.

Louise Bobbitt  01:58

That’s really good. So, Nursing wasn’t really… when I was growing up, Nursing wasn’t really something that I was going to be looking into as a career. So my mum was a Nurse, and she started her training as I was growing up. And she, throughout her training, she studied really hard, worked really hard.

And I just thought, Ah, I don’t really think I want to be a Nurse. She was getting up early, coming home late. And it wasn’t quite what I was thinking I would do. I had visions of, you know, being young, wanting to be a policewoman or be an air hostess, something like that.

And then as I grew up, I didn’t quite grow tall enough for either of those roles. At the time, you had to be about five foot six or something. And then I finished school, got my main GCSEs in England, then, my main schooling qualifications and decided that I wanted to leave home and get a job.

So I got a job working in different type of admin roles and did that for a few years and was just really bored and didn’t really enjoy it. And I was talking with my mom again, and she was talking to me about Nursing and suggesting why don’t I go into Nursing. I’d think I really don’t want to do that.

And then she started saying, well, there’s this new program that’s just being introduced. And in England, it was called Project 2000. So it was one of the first programs where Nurses were being trained in universities rather than hospital based training. So I… and the other thing at the time, so I was living independently, it was important that I could still live independently and pay my rent.

And the course gave you a bursary. So although it wasn’t a salary for training, it meant that you could train, you could earn money and not have a student loan at the end of it. So I thought alright, let’s give it a go. So I signed up, took a… I think it was about a year before I could start the course.

And when I started I was one of the first project 2000 courses, so the traditional Nurses were still in their training as well. So we overlapped with the hospital based training. So that was actually really interesting.

And yeah, I qualified as a Nurse in 1994 and have really enjoyed it ever since. Yeah, love the work that I’ve been doing. And it brought me out to New Zealand, so it was easy when we decided we weren’t going to live in England anymore to get my registration approved over here and come here and yeah, haven’t looked back.

Nicole Vienneau  04:48

I love that. So I think it’s fascinating that you thought maybe you’d like to be a policewoman instead.

Louise Bobbitt  04:55

Yeah, I think it was probably in the days where we had a lot of those TV shows. A TV show in England called Juliet Bravo and things like The Bell and yeah, it was just that it sounded like a really exciting job to do.

Nicole Vienneau  05:12

And then the practical side took over.

Louise Bobbitt  05:15

Yep. And it probably wouldn’t have been for me either, you know, knowing who I am now.

Nicole Vienneau  05:25

Well, we never know what journey we’ll go on, right? Yes. Okay. So you’ve been a Nurse for over three decades.

Louise Bobbitt  05:37

Yeah. A long time.

Nicole Vienneau  05:40

It’s been a long time.

Louise Bobbitt  05:41

I didn’t realize I was that old, actually. But I obviously am.

Nicole Vienneau  05:45

Still very young at heart.

Louise Bobbitt  05:47

Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  05:48

You’re young at heart. Yes. So tell us a little bit about some of the specialties that you’ve enjoyed through your Nursing career.

Louise Bobbitt  05:55

Initially, my first job when I qualified as a Nurse was in respiratory medicine. So, looking after people with lung cancer, and with COPD. So I did that for a while to begin with. And then we moved from one area of the UK where we lived to another and I started working in hematology.

And I probably did that… I did that for quite a number of years. So when we came to New Zealand, I got a job on one of the hematology wards here. Yeah, I’ve done a lot of hematology Nursing, and then got a Nurse specialist role in transfusion medicine, and that was really interesting.

And then became the charge Nurse on a hematology ward for a while, then decided to make a bit of a change and got into breast cancer Nursing. So I went from being a charge Nurse to a Nurse specialist again, in breast cancer. And I’ve been doing that, really, ever since.

So I’ve worked in different fields of breast cancer, so I’ve worked in surgery and diagnostics, and then went to work in an oncology unit at one of our biggest city hospitals. So working in oncology as a breast Nurse specialist. And now I work for one of our charities. So I work for the Breast Cancer Foundation in New Zealand.

And we do a lot of telehealth and supporting women through their breast cancer in that way, a lot of awareness and education. And this month is what we call Pink Ribbon Breakfast month. So throughout the month of May, one of our campaigns is everybody has these pink ribbon breakfasts to raise money for the foundation.

And so there’s a lot of talks involved in those going out and speaking and just raising awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection. Yeah, that’s what I do now.

Nicole Vienneau  07:52

So it sounds like you are in the phase of more awareness, Creating awareness for breast cancer, and then also the support of women with breast cancer.

Louise Bobbitt  08:03

Yeah, yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  08:05

So I can imagine, then, you would likely be using a lot of your skills in Nurse Coaching.

Louise Bobbitt  08:11

Absolutely, yes. Yeah. Yeah, it definitely comes through in a lot of the conversations I have with the women I talk to. You know, the Nurse Coaching that I’ve been doing, it’s really helping in establishing some more resources that we can provide for women, particularly in terms of survivorship.

So that was something that was really passionate to me when I was working in the oncology or the diagnostic setting. And, you know, we know a lot about survivorship. And a lot of other countries have incredible survivorship programs everywhere, but in New Zealand, that was really lacking.

It was one of the things that made me think about moving on from the hospital based work so that we… how our hospitals run is maybe a bit different to how they run in the states. So we don’t have insurance in the same way that you do, so resources are very tight. You know, there’s a lot of financial constraints.

And the focus really is on just providing the basics of care, and not those extra survivorship type aspects that are around. And things like… I know I spent some time over in the UK in Nottingham at one of their big breast centers there, and got really excited about all the work they do and the programs that they run.

I also went over to—  I think it was back in 2018 or 2019—  to Anaheim to the oncology Nurses conference there. And I went to a lot of those integrative oncology lectures and some of the work that you as Nurses were doing in terms of survivorship in the integrative oncology setting, and really wanted to bring some of that into New Zealand. But it was just very hard in the area that I was working to be able to do that.

So working with a foundation now there, you know, it’s a lot more open to the other things that we can do to improve the wellness and improve the lives of the women who have breast cancer, particularly when they finish all of their main treatments and they go on to either some maintenance treatments.

And how they really live well after their cancer diagnosis. So that’s, you know, quite passionate to me. And I’m in a really good space to be able to do that, where we’re looking at creating some symptom programs. So that’s good.

Nicole Vienneau  10:40

Exciting. Yes. And using all that inspiration to see what you can develop, given the tools that you have where you’re at, you know, which is a wonderful thing I always think of with with Nurse Coaching. It’s like, we sometimes have to create things with potentially different resources that we’re faced with.

And that’s what we do. Yeah. So I know you and I met in the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy’s Nurse Coach certificate program. And I am curious to know how you even found Nurse Coaching in New Zealand.

Louise Bobbitt  11:17

All the way from over here. It was a bit of an interesting way, really, for me. Maybe not the usual way. So like I said before, I was always really keen on looking into other things I could do for my patients. I knew that there was, you know, having been to those conferences and been to the UK, I knew that there was something missing.

So I was looking around for other ways and other things that I could learn that also had a Nursing focus. And I read that there really wasn’t anything in New Zealand that would fit. So a lot of our courses are post grad courses, they’re university ran. I’d already got my post grad qualifications, and there wasn’t another course at university that really fitted with what I wanted to do.

So one day my daughter came home, so she had just started university herself, and she came home with her new boyfriend for dinner. And so we’re sat around having dinner, getting to know Ty. And he said, “Oh”, he said, “You’re really like my mom.” So I said, “Oh, who’s your mom?” He said, “Oh, she’s a Nurse.”

I said, “What does she do?” “She’s a Nurse Coach.” “Really? So what’s a Nurse Coach?” And he didn’t really know too much about it. But he did get me in touch with her. So I sent her a message on Facebook and got introduced to Heather.

And Heather did her Nurse Coaching with another Nurse Coach in New Zealand called Anna…  Anna Aikman. And it happened that they were actually putting together a one day introduction to Nurse Coaching. So I signed up for that, and went along to that, and found out about what Nurse Coaching was and what it was like and had an amazing day.

And I sort of describe it as like finding my own tribe. So finding our own group of Nurses who shared similar values and attitudes and beliefs that also wanted to create a more integrative model of care for patients in New Zealand. Yep, so then, yep, did that day with them and really enjoyed it.

And, you know, Anna and Heather just are amazing women. And they reminded me really of what I believed deep down, that, you know, mind and body and spirit are all interconnected and interwoven into health and wellbeing.

And Anna talked a bit about change coming from within and, you know, acknowledging that our health depends on our innermost attitudes and beliefs, but she acknowledges the interconnectedness of everything. And the day that I was talking about was called changing lenses, and it was about reshaping the Nurse’s voice, and the art and science of Nurse Coaching, and transforming healthcare.

Nicole Vienneau  14:42

Sounds like a transformational day.

Louise Bobbitt  14:44

Yeah, yeah. So yeah, it was really special.

Nicole Vienneau  14:49

And inspiring enough to say, Okay, now I think I’m going to take the whole course myself.

Louise Bobbitt  14:55

That’s right. Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  14:58

So looking back at your journey into Nurse Coaching and figuring… like taking the course and realizing okay, I can use some of these things here in New Zealand. And tell us about one thing, one takeaway maybe, you discovered about yourself or from the Nurse Coaching principles that you… that really has stuck with you.

Louise Bobbitt  15:19

There was so many. So, the course was incredible, it covered so much. But I think what resonated a lot with me was around self-development, and also around the healing that is talked about as part of our self-development and how it’s that continual journey, which is something I think I’ve been doing throughout my Nursing.

You know, I haven’t just stopped at one point, and just done that. You know, every year, every, you know, I’ve been constantly reading and constantly wanting to find out more, and do more. And I think that’s, you know, that’s really important to me, as a Nurse, and also as a Nurse Coach. It’s important to continue to learn and develop ourselves, and also learn about the art of healing.

And, you know, one of the things I learned is that we can be both the skilled expert and the educator with our patients. But as a Coach, our role isn’t to fix patients. So on the ward, it might be to fix patients, we’re going to give them their antibiotics, we’re going to give them the fluids that they need.

But in a Coaching role, it’s more of assisting them to access their own wisdom, and look at what skills they have, you know, look at their own inner abilities to help them to heal themselves. And that’s where I see a lot of the work in that I do with women in terms of survivorship and living well after their cancer, that sentiment as well.

And I liked how when I was reading about the self-development and healing and learning about that, how, you know, from the Coaching perspective, healing gets described as being synchronous, but not synonymous with curing, and I really liked that description.

So, you know, describes it as that emerging process where our body and our mind and our emotions all come together, and we get a sense of balance, and, you know, we can get some healing and renewal and repair and become more whole. And that can be just as healing as curing yourself from a disease.

I think, you know, that’s how I sort of describe it to my patients as well, and that it’s around healing on an emotional level and a spiritual level as well, that can bring some peace, peace to them. And they can live at peace in the world around them with whatever it is that they’re having to deal with, whether it’s their cancer or any other emotional or spiritual difficulties. That you know, they can find that peace. And that piece is that healing.

Nicole Vienneau  18:06

So beautiful. And I really connected with that definition, too. That even though we may have a disease process that we’re living alongside with, it may never go away, and yet, we can still find space to feel like we are healed or that we are healthy.

And even in death, as we transition towards death, that we can find space to honor our own healing in that as well. And that allows so much freedom when you really think about that, as a human who makes their own decisions in their life, and wants to be autonomous in that.

Louise Bobbitt  18:47

Yeah. The other thing that it talks about that I remember is it talks about the wounded healer. And that really resonated with me as well in how it describes that part of us that always needs healing, and how we need to be aware of our own suffering to help others heal.

And in a way, that’s actually how I see mindfulness and meditation with healing. So, in mindfulness again, we learn our self awareness, and we learn to recognize our own suffering, and we learn to recognize our own need for healing in that, and we learn to be present with that pain.

And we learn, you know, mindfulness, we learn to bring some non-judgement to that, and some gentleness and kindness and compassion to ourselves in our lives. And, you know, I see it as this—  the mindful awareness that we develop helps us to not just heal but also you know, as a Nurse and learning those aspects, helps me to become more authentic, as well, as I’m working with others and helping others heal.

Nicole Vienneau  19:15

So beautiful. Absolutely. And we feel… when we do feel authentic and true to ourselves, then we show up in that way. And that helps the persons that we’re working with or partnering with to also be able to come from their own sense of authenticity as well.

Louise Bobbitt  20:24

Yeah, yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  20:26

So beautiful. Okay, so now we’re into the mindfulness part, which is great. Yes, because I know that this has had a huge impact on your life. And you’ve been practicing mindfulness for over 10 years, and a lot of self study and courses and retreats, and really focusing on the impact that mindfulness has had for you in your life.

And so we’d love to know why is mindfulness so important to you as a human? I know we just heard a little snippet of that but we’d love to learn a little bit more about that.

Louise Bobbitt  21:05

So, I think when I started learning about mindfulness, it was at a, you know, it was at a really low point in my life. My job is really intense, I was finding it difficult and stressful. I began to worry constantly, and you know, that worry led to an anxiety that I didn’t really have the skills to manage, I didn’t really know how to control that.

And the anxiety and the worry just really began to snowball, and affect my home life. And, you know, I began to feel that I wasn’t really the mom or the wife, or you know, the person that I had been and who I wanted to be. And I didn’t have the skills or the knowledge or really know how to manage that amount of stress that I was under at the time.

And so I was chatting with one of the people I work with, and they started talking to me about mindfulness. And I thought, sounds interesting, never heard of mindfulness before. And they got me in touch with a person in New Zealand who ran an eight week mindfulness course.

So I found out a little bit more about that, and signed up for that, and went along. I think just really from that first week, even, from doing that course, my mind began to settle. I was able to sleep again. And, you know, initially, I would fall asleep actually doing the meditations. So I probably wasn’t being as awake and alert as I should have been.

But you know, it was all helping, and I just found it so enjoyable and so peaceful. And that, you know, I did that course, and then that led along to doing a silent meditation retreat. So I went to a beautiful place in New Zealand in the Coromandel called Te Moata, and it’s, you know, in the middle of a forest, and there’s not a lot electricity there.

So you don’t have a phone signal. So you can take your phone, but you can’t use your phone. And it was run by an amazing man called Stephen Archer, who was from the UK, used to be a Buddhist monk. And he, in running the retreat, would talk to us about the philosophy behind mindfulness and where it came from.

And so, you know, I found that fascinating as well, the background in where he talks a lot about suffering and where suffering comes from, and how the Buddhist way of life can help you to deal with suffering by being present in the present moment. So that was, you know, I just found it really fascinating.

And so, you know, after doing that retreat, I just carried on doing more. So, I carried on reading more, so I read a lot from other authors, went to… found someone I knew here who told me about Ian Gawler, who ran retreats, or cancer retreats really, over in Australia. So he was running a deepening meditation retreat, and my friend wanted to go, so I said I’ll go with you then.

So went over to Australia, went and did the deepening meditation retreat with Ian Gawler. And then while I was there, found out about their mindfulness teacher training program, and ended up signing up for that. So again, over the next two or three years, I kept going back where their training program was done over week blocks.

And so, you know, I went back to an amazing place in the Yarra Valley, another, you know, beautiful meditation place. They had a focus on whole foods, so really good nutrition as well as the education and learning. So, yeah, that’s really how I got into mindfulness. And I think for me as well, it’s something that helps get me through every day.

So whether it’s a formal practice where you’re sitting, you know, I sit on my meditation stool and sit for half an hour. I could sit for an hour doing those breathing practices, or I could be using the practice as I’m riding my bike into work every day, or taking a short breathing space between speaking with patients on the phone.

Just being able to disconnect from one conversation and refocus before I start having another one. So it is something I have learned to bring into what I do. It’s helped me with my emotions, and it’s helped me let go of a lot of negative feelings that were hidden away that I didn’t realize I’d hidden away.

I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness and forgiveness of myself and forgiveness of others. With that has come a big sense of gratitude for life, and for every one I have in my life and everything I have in my life. And it’s taught me how to recognize my own feelings and my emotions, and how to just sit with them, and be with them and recognize them.

So you know, I do still get angry, I do still get upset. And it’s, you know, the mindfulness has helped me learn that actually, that’s okay. And that, you know, I can be friendly with those feelings. And that helps me to actually understand them a little bit better.

And it also helps them not be quite so intense and quite so in the moment, you know, when they happen. I guess, in a way, it’s, you know, by recognizing those emotions and those feelings, it’s allowed me to be a lot more honest with myself without having to hide things away. I can just sit and accept that, you know, that’s part of life, and that’s part of me.

There’s a quote that I learned quite early on, it’s one of those Buddhist phrases where they talk about the secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, or to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

And that’s what I try and do, I’m not sure I’m always good at it. And, you know, the other thing with that quote, again, coming back from that Buddhist philosophy is that, to me, that’s describing what suffering is. You know, that suffering happens when we’re sad about or anxious about the future, or we worry about the past.

And that we can end our suffering and be more happy by using mindfulness, because when we’re using mindfulness, the mind is in the present moment. So in the present moment, we’re not thinking about those things from the past, and we’re not worrying about the future, and you know, we can just be present.

And we can find, you know, by being present where we are now, we can find that peace and that stillness, at that actual moment. And I find that really, really comforting and quite reassuring as well. And, you know, when I am getting stressed or anxious, I remember that, actually, I can just be still and be quiet. And you know, it’s almost like that anxiety can—  not necessarily disappear—  but can cause a wave of peace inside.

Nicole Vienneau  29:07

I think of so many of us who are at the bedside or in high stress, high stakes environments. And we are worried about the future because we’re very concerned about our patients and what could happen to them, the things that we need to do, all of the tasks that we need to complete, all of the relationships that we’re coming towards.

And, you know, there can be a lot of thinking ahead in Nursing as a whole. So I’m curious to just know, what are some tips that maybe our listeners could latch on to maybe related to mindfulness, that might be able to support them as they’re going through some of this potentially anxiety provoking and high stress environments?

Louise Bobbitt  29:57

So, one of the things I learned is a self-compassion technique. So if you… if something is happening in the moment and you’re really struggling with that, it can be just stopping for a moment, and maybe just putting your hands on your heart area and just saying something in your mind to yourself that, you know, this is really hard right now.

And just taking a few breaths, and saying that, you know, these feelings will pass, and just sitting with that for a few moments. And that can be really reassuring.

Nicole Vienneau  30:40

Yes, as you were talking, I just tried it to myself, so maybe our listeners, they might want to do it with us too. Put your hand on your heart, and just say to yourself: We can do this, I can do this. This is hard right now, this is really hard right now. And I would like to take a few breaths for myself. That feels really nice. Self Compassion. Thank you for bringing that to our awareness.

Alright, you have spent a lot of time creating a beautiful course with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. It’s called Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation for Nurses. It’s an eight week introductory mindfulness based program for all Nurses of all specialties.

And after the completion of the course, Nurses will have 50 CEs, almost 50 CEs, which is amazing. And I’m curious to know why you wanted to devote your time to creating such a beautiful mindfulness course for Nurses.

Louise Bobbitt  31:58

So I think, you know, coming from a Nurse Coaching perspective, and having done the Nurse Coaching program, we learn a lot about one of the goals of Coaching around being building awareness, and some responsibility and self-belief.

And, yeah, I learned that it’s an important… you know, one of the objectives is around deepening our awareness and inner knowing and how that enables us to assume some responsibility for our choices and our actions. And that, you know, that’s a process of connecting with ourselves and strengthening our self belief.

And, you know, we learn about the awareness practices in the Coaching program, and how they can help with our own self-care and our own self-development. And, you know, meditation, along with imagery and prayer and yoga, and other things are recognized practices in mind body medicine.

And we know that the evidence is increasing around how important that they are alongside conventional medical care. So everything that I’ve done with the courses that I’ve been on—  I’ve done the Mindfulness Bases Stillness Meditation teacher training program—  and so I thought, you know, I’ve got all of these resources.

And it would just be really nice to be able to share those with other Nurses, as well as my patients. And there wasn’t anything around that was specifically for Nurses. So all of the groups that were there were general eight week courses that anybody could sign up to.

So I was just thinking, it’d be really nice to be able to create something where Nurses can be with other Nurses and be supported by people who share similar work and similar concerns around, you know, what they’re doing, and be supported by colleagues. And so I decided that I could actually put this course together with everything that I’ve learned myself.

So in this way, you know, as I was putting the course together, my hope really was that Nurses would… you know, to help them move through the course and to teach them to establish a regular meditation practice of their own, and to learn the foundations of mindfulness and meditation.

And you know, I really wanted to do something where I could teach them to not just learn the aspects of doing the actual practice, but to actually be able to integrate everything that they’re learning into their own practice so that, you know, it wasn’t around just learning the theory, and then being able to teach someone else.

I wanted to be able to put a course together where the focus was on their own practice, as well as having the theory. And by doing that, my hope was that as people learn those practices, integrate them into their own lives, they then become familiar with them.

And then they’re then able to share those practices with their patients or their clients and their family. So you know, I wanted it to be a course which is for them and about them, rather than being for them to learn something to teach somebody else.

Nicole Vienneau  35:47

I love that. I love that. You know why I love that, is because often I am learning things that will support me, yes, but I’m often learning them for other people. And so in your vision of this course, you really wanted Nurses to have it for themselves as well. And yeah, they could share it if they chose to, but really, the number one priority is the Nurse.

Louise Bobbitt  36:15

Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  36:16

Mm. So good. Finally putting ourselves first, right, Louise?

Louise Bobbitt  36:25

Yes. Absolutely.

Nicole Vienneau  36:26

And I know mindfulness is not like, it’s not hard, and yet, it could be considered hard. Right? I recall, just like how you were explaining the very first course you took, where you were just falling asleep during the meditations in the mindfulness, and yet, you still found the benefit, right?

You still found the benefit, and so much so that you were like, oh, I want to learn more. I’d like to expose myself to more. So maybe telling… having our listeners understand a little bit more about what’s involved in taking this course? Maybe that would be really helpful for us contemplating taking it.

Louise Bobbitt  37:04

Yeah, absolutely. So like you said, you get a lot of CPD hours for the course. So it’s 48 and a half hours altogether, you know that’s six hours a week. So there is a lot of work involved in the course. And the way I’ve put the course together is I’ve wanted to put it together in a way that reflected how the course would run if it was an in person course.

So the in person courses that I’ve done have been you go along once a week, and you have like two and a half hours. And that includes some teaching and discussion as well as practice. So the way I’ve put the course together is through a presentation. So each week would start with listening to the presentation.

And that’s probably about an hour to an hour and a half each week. And that presentation also includes some meditations. So it happens in the way that it would if it was an in person course. So we’ll start with a greeting and a meditation, then we’ll go into some theory. And then we might do another meditation, a bit more theory.

And then the presentation finishes with a longer meditation at the end. And I use poems, as well, at the end of those meditations. And so, you know, the first part is that, you know, people take part, they listen to the presentation, and then like other Nurse Coaching programs, there’s a little bit of the learning part. So there’s… every week, the participants need to do a reflective journal.

And then there are a couple of questions, but for discussion, so the idea is that, because we can’t talk about our practice in person, we can… I post some questions, and then the participants will go in and answer the question for themselves. And then also reply to other people’s answers as well, is part of that theory and part of that learning and part of that sharing and sharing our own knowledge and our own wisdom.

And, you know, in the couple of courses that that have been run, it’s incredible how… to see how, you know, Nurses in different parts of the country, different time zones, different areas of working, have never met each other before, but how they can all really come together and really feel part of a cohesive and supported team and really support each other through each week of the course.

And that’s just been so good to see as that’s been happening each week, and that’s been really nice. Other things on the course—  so every week, I add in some things for people to read, and some resources for people to watch or to listen to. But I do say that those things are extra.

They’re not things that have to be read or have to be watched. But they’re extra things that give a little bit more information about the topics that we’ve covered that week. So if people do want to investigate more, if people have time to investigate more, they can do that.

The other part of what the practice that week is around encouraging them to do a formal practice, you know, every day, so you know, six out of seven days a week, at least, just doing one of the formal meditations. And that’s really the focus of the reflective journal part is around, how have they found doing the formal practice?

What challenges have they had in doing that? So, yep, that’s really the focus of the course. And over the eight weeks, we really cover a lot of information, there’s, you know, I think I’ve tried to pack in as much of the foundational information around mindfulness meditation practices that I can into those weeks.

So we look at mindfulness itself, we look at why we use the breath, we look at stress response and neuroplasticity and how mindfulness helps with that. We look at, you know, the thinking mind and how our how our mind can be, you know, how the thinking mind can interfere with our own mindfulness practice and how to deal with that and how to deal with that during the meditations.

We do a little bit around mindfulness of movements, you know, a lot around focusing on the breath, we do work around body awareness and being aware of our body. We’ve got a week where we do around mindfulness of emotions. We look at mindfulness of thoughts and stillness.

And you know, the first few weeks is building up into getting to that point where we learn about what stillness is, and how that gets integrated into, you know, a mindfulness practice and how through the practice of managing our thoughts, and our emotions, and our body awareness, and what’s happening around us, can lead to stillness. And then I’ve also included some work of people like Sharon Salzberg and Tara Brach.

So we do a little bit on self compassion and loving kindness. And then the last week of the course is around integrating everything that we’ve learned, and all those practices into what we… you know, mindfulness in everyday life and how we bring the attitudes of mindfulness that we learned through the course, and how we use those to be able to live mindfully every day.

And, you know, not necessarily with the formal practices, but also with just how we are and who we are, and whether it’s driving to work and just being kind to other drivers.

And it’s just integrating those things, enjoying when you’re going out for a walk, walking the dog, you know, not listening to your headphones, not listening to one of these podcasts, but just listening to what’s going on around and looking around, looking at the trees, looking at the flowers and just enjoying the moment of where you are.

Nicole Vienneau  43:39

I’m a big imaginer, I love imagining things. And I was imagining just walking and just enjoying and just being in that moment, instead of thinking about all the things that I have to do. And those things are still going to be there when I get back from that walk. But just the benefit of being in the present and in the moment. Yeah. So good. I just want to take a breath with that.

Louise Bobbitt  44:17

There was… just in terms of taking that breath in, in the Coaching handbook that we have on our course, there’s that quote from Florence Nightingale that I really enjoy and she talks about… the quote is:

“Quiet in our own rooms – we have bustle every day – a few minutes of calm – how indispensable it is, in this ever increasing hurry of life! When we live “so fast” do we not require a breathing time, a moment or two daily, to think where we are going.” And I think she wrote that back in 1873.

Nicole Vienneau  45:01

Mmm, I think we would love to have that quote to put into our show notes for sure. Yes, we do, we do need those moments of silence, those moments of just being with ourselves and being in stillness. So as Nurses are contemplating taking this course, how do you see them—  and past students who have taken this course—  how are people using these tools in their day to day life? And what are they noticing about themselves?

Louise Bobbitt  45:38

So I think from reading the discussions and from hearing from the Nurses that have done the course,

it’s made a real… head and real impact in their personal lives and in their working roles. So, you know, learning mindfulness has enabled them to slow down a little bit, and know that it’s okay not to have to be so busy all the time.

And also know that it’s okay to spend some time on themselves. So I know a lot of the… you know, a lot of us as Nurses and people on the course have talked about having really busy lives, and having lots to do and having to look after their family, looking after their patients.

And, you know, from doing the course, they’ve realized that it’s actually just as important to spend as much time and as much care in looking after their their own wellbeing, as well as looking after other people’s wellbeing.

It’s allowed them to connect more with themselves and their own awareness and their own emotions, and to give them some space to really manage some of those emotions in a more healthy way. You know, they talked about how they can be more mindful when they’re actually Nursing and when they’re doing practices.

So whether, you know, I know some of the Nurses have talked about the practical side of actually spending time when they’re with a patient, and really being with that patient, and really listening to them, and hearing what they’re saying, rather than just going in and doing the tasks that needed to be doing and coming out again.

You know, they’ve really noticed that they can make a big difference when they begin to spend more mindful time with their patients, and understanding, you know, what’s going on with their patients at that time, and being more present with them and making that experience in Nursing a lot richer, which can be more rewarding in terms of what they’re doing.

And other things that, you know, people have talked about is around just taking some… a few moments during their shift to have a breathing space, rather than that constant busyness and that constant need to get things done. And, you know, that can build up the levels of stress throughout the day, and you can leave work feeling completely exhausted.

So it’s learning some… using some of the practices that we do, some of the shorter, briefer practices. So we do a rapid relaxation, and a mini meditation and the three minute breathing space—  using those throughout the day to just keep a balance on the amount of stress that we might be experiencing.

I know a lot of the Nurses who do the course, do those practices once they get to work. They sit in their car for a few minutes, do those practices before they get out of the car. And that actually can… you know, they can then start the day and they can start their shift in a calmer way to how they would have started it before.

So that can actually make a really big difference to that shift and that day and how that day plays out. They’re already going in with… rather than going in with that worry about, you know, are there going to be enough staff, or am I going to have enough time, am I going to be able to get everything done, it’s actually going into work with a more balanced mind and body, and you know, being more prepared for that day in a more gentle, calmer way.

I know other people who, other Nurses who talked about the course, have talked about their relationship with their partners and having more acceptance of what their partners or family might be going through.

People who have had difficult relationships potentially, and how learning some of the practices that we learn is able to give them a better understanding of other people around them, as well as their understanding of themselves. And you know, that can improve the relationships that they’re having with family members as well.

Nicole Vienneau  46:44

Wow. It sounds like we should all sign up, because we could all really benefit from having those deeper connections to ourself, and deeper connections with the work that we do. And then also this freedom that comes from being in the present. It sounds like there’s freedom associated with that.

I think of provision five of the Nursing code of ethics. A Nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, and to continue this personal and professional growth.

And what better way to invest time and energy and knowledge than into yourself? And then how that can then connect to more of the professional side of things. Being at the bedside and being with other humans in relationships, and just your ability to be with and be very present in those moments. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

So we have a few moments left. I love to ask the question, and every listener who talks to me about the podcast or sends me comments—  which I love to receive your comments about the podcast, please send them my way to nicole@bluemonarchhealth.com  they love the question and love to hear the answers to the following question.

So, opening our minds and hearts to this question, Louise, what is on your heart, that you would like to tell our listeners?

Louise Bobbitt  52:18

So what is really, you know, on my heart is around how, for me, being mindful is allowing me to be fully present, and fully present with myself and fully present with my emotions, and fully present with my patients, and my family.

And for me, what that means, being fully present, allows me to get into touch with the wonders of life and the wonders of everything around. And I find that incredibly nourishing, and I find that incredibly healing. And I know, from the 10 years or more that I’ve been doing mindfulness, that I’ve become a stronger person in myself.

And I’m more able to handle the other people’s suffering as well as my own suffering. And to recognize that, and to learn from that as well. So I know that my work and my personal life has deepened. You know, mindfulness has deepened my capacity to pay attention to those things and be present.

Nicole Vienneau  53:42

Beautifully said, Louise. Thank you. It’s hard to talk from our heart sometimes, isn’t it?

Louise Bobbitt  53:48

It really is.

Nicole Vienneau  53:51

And then there’s that deep breath and dropping in. So beautiful. Thank you. So how can people get in contact with you if they have questions about this program?

Louise Bobbitt  54:06

So my contact details are on the INCA website, so they can go in through there and look up the Mindfulness Based Stillness Meditation course there, and can contact me through my Nurse Coach email.

Nicole Vienneau  54:20

Alright, and I will definitely be sharing the links to the course as well as your email, as well, so people can reach out to you if they have any questions. And now, we’re going to go to fun segment that we do at the end of each podcast.

And this, Louise, you cannot be thinking about the answers to these, you just have to say what they are. That’s it. Okay, ready? Deep breath in everyone. Deep breath out. The first question: motorcycles or cars?

Louise Bobbitt  54:55

It has to be motorbikes.

Nicole Vienneau  54:58

Tell us why!

Louise Bobbitt  55:00

I ride a motorbike to work every day. And I have actually just bought, in the last couple of weeks, a brand new Triumph Street Triple RS in cosmic yellow. It’s incredible. It makes going to work enjoyable and coming home from work even more enjoyable.

Nicole Vienneau  55:27

Oh, I hope we get a photo of you on this bike! So exciting! Okay, next question: dog or cat?

Louise Bobbitt  55:39

Oh, well. I will say dog for now, but I do like cats as well. So I have a very naughty Jack Russell Terrier called Monty, but I’ve had beautiful pets. Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  55:53

Close tie, but still Monty makes the number one.

Louise Bobbitt  55:56

At the moment. Yes.

Nicole Vienneau  56:00

At the moment.

Louise Bobbitt  56:02

I don’t think he could… Yeah, I know you and Bumpy are gorgeous as well, though.

Nicole Vienneau  56:09

Yes, you know I’m a cat person. So the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast… so action is an acronym. So I’m going to say the words and I would love for you to just tap into one word that’s really standing out for you. So action, the word action stands for authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing. Authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing.

Louise Bobbitt  56:46

I would go for curious.

Nicole Vienneau  56:48

Hmm, tell us more.

Louise Bobbitt  56:50

Just because I get curious about everything and everything around, and again, that’s what mindfulness is a lot to do with. It’s about being… it’s around being curious about our surroundings and curious around who we are and what we do. And you know that curiosity leads to wanting to know more and learn more and develop ourselves and yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  57:20

Ah, I love curiosity, too. Being curious. Yes. So all our listeners out there who are curious about our mindfulness program with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, please check out the links.

If you have questions, of course reaching out as those questions come up to answer some of the questions so that you can become involved in this amazing program, which leads to so much of improved ability to be present with yourself, self-compassion, self-love, and mindfulness based stillness meditation for Nurses.

So thank you, Louise, for sharing time with us here today. We so enjoyed all the nuggets of wisdom and calm, also, that I feel now after spending this time with you.

Louise Bobbitt  58:09

Thank you, Nicole, and thank you for persevering and getting me here today.

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