by Global Good News staff writer
9 February 2013
While ‘nurse burnout’ generally comes over time, it was only 6 months after graduating from nursing school that RN Amy Ruff started to feel the symptoms.
As a young nurse working in an intensive care unit, Amy’s nervous system was quickly being overwhelmed by the stress of her profession. ‘Even though I had great mentors,’ Ms Ruff said in an interview with TM Radio for Women, ‘it was very stressful and I felt the effects of stress growing both mentally and physically. I found myself making some very poor lifestyle choices outside of work because I was so tired and stressed. Even having 2 days off in a row didn’t get rid of the fatigue that I was feeling.’
Deep calm and peace with her first meditation
But relief came to the 21-year-old quickly. Amy noticed a poster on the Transcendental Meditation programme and decided to attend a free introductory lecture. When the speaker talked of benefits, such as less fatigue, more mental clarity, improved health, and more inner happiness, she decided to take the course right away.
Her experience: ‘It was amazing!’ Ms Ruff told TM Radio for Women. ‘With my first meditation at the center, I experienced a very deep calm and peacefulness within. I could not believe how easy it was, how completely effortless it felt. I was awake and alert, but my body was resting very deeply. It was incredible. I had never experienced anything like it before.’
For Ms Ruff, the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique translated into tangible benefits right away affecting everything in her life, in and out of work. ‘I just began to feel overall less anxious. That calm and rested state that I experienced during the TM meditation carries over into activity after the meditation. I began to feel less exhausted at the end of a stressful day and even if I’d had a really bad day, the evening meditation helped to relieve the tiredness and stress so that I had some energy for the evening at home.’ Amy enjoyed more energy, stamina, and mental clarity on the job and others noticed that she was happier.
An antidote to nurse burnout
With nurse burnout being a tremendous issue today, experienced, according to one source, by over 40% of staff nurses, a solution is needed for the protection of the individual and the profession. Ms Ruff sees the Transcendental Meditation programme as just that. ‘Not only does it [experience of burnout] mean that these nurses are caring for patients in this state of mind, state of burnout, but chances are they’re probably going to leave their jobs and most likely the profession. So the Transcendental Meditation technique is the perfect antidote to nurse burnout.
‘By getting the incredibly deep rest during the meditation, stresses and strains leave the body. One is less tired, able to handle challenges. The body is healthier and there is more happiness within. It is a way of replenishing the mind and the body and the spirit after giving and giving and giving all the time.’
Amy sees the incorporation of the Transcendental Meditation technique into the lives of nurses as the key to allowing nurses to not only continue in the profession, but to be at their best.
‘Every nurse wants to do his or her best,’ she says. ‘Every nurse wants to leave their shift feeling that they’ve done everything possible for their patients including having some time to listen to them, which is really what patients want the most.’
To that end, Ms Ruff feels, ‘The Transcendental Meditation technique should be learned by every nurse. It will give them the extra energy, clarity, health, happiness that will allow them to be the best that they can be. I feel that the course should be offered in every hospital and every nursing programme.’
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