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Mindfulness in Healthcare

Mindfulness is the non-judgmental unfolding of experience which allows us to expand our ways of knowing.  It creates open spaciousness for holding new ways of thinking by releasing judgment and the “us-versus-them” beliefs that result when unregulated thoughts become dichotomous narratives.  Mindfulness is a practice, not a state of mind.  It can be experienced through the 5 senses, which are our birthright: sight, sound, smell, taste, hearing all of which are immediately available to us in the present moment as the doorway to the experience of being fully human. 


Mindfulness practice involves:

  • Paying attention

  • Being “on purpose”

  • Intentional

  • Being fully present

Daubenmier, et al. (2011); Kabat & Zinn (2003)


Mindfulness allows us to bring awareness to the present moments of our lives.  It offers tremendous implications for the self-care of the nurse leader:


 Compared to the general population, nurses are:


  • ​More likely to be overweight

  • Higher levels of stress and burnout

  • Get less sleep

  • Have twice the rate of depression compared to other professions

  • Have significantly higher suicide rates

  • More likely to have reported mental health problems

  • More likely to have a history of treated mental illness

  • More likely to have experienced a previous suicide attempt


(Lee et al., 2011; Melnyk et al., 2013; Thacker et al., 2016; Eanes, 2015; Davidson, et al., 2019)

Mindful awareness permits heightened adaptive responses by allowing us to distance ourselves from interpreting habitual patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It allows us to let go of stress and anxiety being fully aware of the present moment of our life that are often obliterated by an obsession with the past, or fear/worry of the future.


Publications & Presentations

Cultivating our Present Potential 

Discover the boundless possibilities of a nursing profession that is fully aware of itself and its present potential.  

•  Discuss the foundations of mindfulness

•  Investigate mindfulness research as it relates to health and well being

•  Describe mindfulness as a means of self-care for the caregiver

•  Explore implications of mindfulness practice for the nursing profession 

The Role of Mindfulness-Based Interventions in the Treatment of Obesity and Eating Disorders: An Integrative Review

Mindfulness based interventions, combined with other traditional weight loss strategies, have the potential to offer a long-term, holistic approach to wellness. However, research reports examining the complementary addition of mindfulness based approaches in the treatment obesity and eating disorders are relatively scarce in the empirical literature. This paper describes what is currently known about the role of mindfulness based interventions when used alone, or in combination with, other traditional approaches in the treatment of obesity and eating disorders.

Godsey, J. (2013). The role of mindfulness based interventions in the treatment of obesity and eating disorders: An integrative review.  Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21, 430-439.

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Integrating Yoga Therapy into Oncology Care

This article outlines the process for designing and implementing a yoga therapy program for patients with cancer, including:

• An evidence-based literature examination.

• Program planning: identifying funding sources, evaluating the competency of yoga therapists, and specifying types of yoga therapy to be provided (e.g., breathing practices, relaxation techniques, yoga nidra, guided imagery).

• Program implementation: identifying the cancer patient population (e.g., patients in various settings: outpatient, inpatient, palliative care); engaging the oncology team; and creating an educational program for staff, providers, and patients to inform them of the program.

• Outcomes evaluation.

Robison, J., Walter, T. & Godsey, J. (2019). Integrating yoga into oncology care. 

Oncology Issues, July/Aug, 2019, Association of Community Cancer Centers.

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Mindful Health

Dr. Judi Godsey recently published a research article on using a therapy known as “mindfulness” to help people with obesity control their weight. It’s part of her research into solutions to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and improving health overall—especially in her part of Kentucky, where childhood obesity is third in the nation and adult obesity is seventh.

Wanting to improve her own life and help change the outcome for the people of Kentucky, she became the first in her family to graduate from college, earning a nursing degree at Northern Kentucky University while raising two children. She continued on, eventually earning her master’s in nursing and is now working on her doctorate. As she studied for her degrees, she developed an interest in researching population health issues, including how more than a third of adults in the U.S. are classified as obese and how it’s one of the largest health care threats facing American children today.

Mindful Health. Featured in Xavier Magazine, by France Sloat (April 28, 2014).


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A Meditation... Just for Nurses

Here is a link to a meditation that was created to help nurses center and quiet the resounding constant noise in their heads.  It reminds us to "show up" for the moments of our lives and cultivate an awareness of being fully present whether at work or at play, as we let go of the narrative of a never ending “to do” list.  This meditation helps quiet the "monkey mind" chatter that pulls us everywhere...but here. So take a few minutes to listen, and plug in to being, right here, right now...the most precious moment we have.



Many thanks to my dear friend, Tina Walter, Yoga Therapist, for so graciously sharing her work (and gift to nurses).


“I am enough, I have enough, I do enough”.  


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