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The Secret of Gritflowness - October 2020 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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have returned to some semblance of normalcy, but we still have moments of high stress." Ms. McLean teaches mindfulness and yoga, and relies on both to remain centered. "I have a lot tools in my mental toolbox and would be a mess if I didn't meditate in the morning before work," says Ms. McLean. "I often wonder how people without the tools they need to cope are faring." She's passionate about the power of being pres- ent and is known for running surgical teams through a series of breathing exercises before cases begin. She recalls teaching a meditation exercise to fellow surgical team members during a morning meeting. Hours later, they faced a life- threatening emergency in the OR involving an infant patient. Ms. McLean caught the eye of a sur- gical nurse who was in her meditation group and told her to reset, take a breath and realize she knew what to do. "Focused breathing lets you unhook from stress and move forward," says Ms. McLean. "Awareness disempowers the fight or flight response. It calms the chaos." If you feel your day beginning to spiral out of control and stress beginning to build, find time to walk away to regroup and recenter. You don't have to sit cross-legged in a healing garden to remove yourself from the constant churn of moving from task to task. Ms. McLean keeps earbuds in her pocket and pops them in to listen to relaxing music when she needs to escape the stress of a busy day, even for just a few moments. "Stare into space, pray, meditate, walk outside — it doesn't need to be involved," she says. "Research shows it only takes five minutes to center yourself." Strive for self-care The onset of COVID-19 was a stress point that has snowballed to impact every aspect of life, says Catherine Skowronsky, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CMSRN, a medicine behavioral health clinical nurse specialist consultant at a large non-profit academic medical center. "No one had a chance to prepare, adapt and cope because there's always been a new challenge coming along," says Ms. Skowronsky. "Our entire nation needs to acknowledge that we're living in a state of chronic trauma." Surgical professionals should stop thinking — and saying — they're fine if they're actually not, says Ms. Skowronsky. "We all need to admit this time is hard, and that it's traumatic," she explains. "This does impact us, and we're carrying a heavier burden than we ordinarily do. "Healthcare professionals always focus on the patient first, and put their self-care needs far down on their list of priorities. You can only live that way for so long and still remain emotionally intact." Ms. Skowronsky believes prioritizing your mental health is more important than ever. Pay attention to signs of burnout such as headaches, severe fatigue and mood changes, and take the necessary steps to address emotional burdens. "You already take care of your physical safety by wearing masks, washing hands and using PPE," she says. "Give your mental well-being the same attention, watch for the symptoms of traumatic stress and realize you deserve to take care of yourself." OSM O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 • O U T P A T I E N T S U R G E R Y . N E T • 2 5 HELPING HAND Summer Logan took care of COVID-19 patients when elective surgeries shut down earlier this year.

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