The fact that nursing can be stressful is known to us all. But the problem is getting worse. Last year the BBC published a report stating that staff absences for mental health problems – stress, anxiety and depression – had doubled to over 41,100 sick leave days.1
The reasons for this dramatic rise in stress have been debated widely. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has stated that nurses have been under relentless pressure from constant change and understaffing.2 Long-term, high levels of stress in the workplace can have a negative effect on an individual’s mind and body, leading to chronic illnesses and poor mental health.
‘By nature, my job is very demanding and there have been a lot of changes at work recently adding to the pressure,’ says Lindsey Platts, 47, a community psychiatric nurse from the West Midlands. ‘I found myself becoming unmanageably stressed and started to have panic attacks at night.’
When work makes complex demands on our attention, causing high levels of long-term stress, there is a greater need for mental wellbeing skills and training throughout the workforce. Now, numerous academic studies have shown that mindfulness is a low-risk, high impact method to support productive focus, improved wellbeing and reduced stress when incorporated at an organisational level.