By Hugh Finlay
Nancy, a Registered Nurse working at Hunterdon Medical center in New Jersey, was feeling burnt out, after 20 busy years of nursing. She was looking around for some way of releasing all the stress she had accumulated over the years. Nancy said "Deeply passionate as a critical nurse in a large academic hospital, after two decades of extreme acuity, I was so weary of the pain and death that I completely burned out." Then she heard about a course on Transcendental Meditation, and it was especially designed for nurses. This was perfect! She investigated and was amazed at the amount of scientific research done on TM, showing its effectiveness.
She was also impressed by the fact that TM could deal with the problem of 'compassion fatigue', a condition whereby nurses becomes so tired and stressed, that they become less caring towards patients. Nurses nowadays are heavily worked, working many hours a day, or working at night. Tension builds up as nerves become frayed. Some of the problems created by this overwork are: insomnia, depression, stress-related disease, psychiatric problems and disputes with co-workers. Among healthcare professionals nurses have the highest rate of stress. Dr. Jen Rheingans, PhD, RN-BC, a research specialist attached to Sarasota Memorial Hospital said "We've also seen evidence suggesting that improving resilience among healthcare providers can diminish the effects of compassion fatigue and ultimately prevent burnout. We decided to pilot a research study evaluating the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on compassion fatigue and resilience among nurses." The results showed that TM had a significant effect on removing the compassion fatigue. Dr. Rheingans said "This study contributes new knowledge for an innovative strategy to improve resilience and reduce compassion fatigue and burnout."
Nancy is also very happy with TM. After 4 months of meditating she could say "I sleep better, the night terrors that I have suffered from for years have all but ceased, I am quicker to laugh, slower to anger, more forgiving, and my general mood has become more positive and optimistic. The calm, clarity, and strength that I have found through this meditation is now imbedded and reflected in my practice of nursing. it has helped me preserve my passion, thwart burnout, and prevent disassociation from my patients."