Palliative Care Nursing as Mindfulness Embodying a Relational Ethic through Strong Emotion, Uncertainty and Death
As nurses, we hear about mindfulness all the time, but what does that actually mean in practice? In this book readers are invited into conversation to explore how mindfulness influences palliative care nurses’ approaches to caring for themselves and others through experiences of living-dying.
Under the guise of stress reduction and self-care, the assumption often made is that mindfulness can smooth out difficult experiences. Instead, the objective of this inquiry is not to bypass the practice of caring in those spaces that are really hard, but to understand how nurses are working directly within them. Calling out from the shadows—and our bodies—the intensity of palliative care nursing practice arises. In this text, a dialogue unfolds of nurses caring in deeply meaningful practice environments while searching for ground that is perpetually shifting, uncertain, and fraught with suffering and strong emotion. Integrating literature across nursing, sociology, and contemplative scholarship, evocative stories from palliative care nurses lead in this conversation—their words in italics—showing how they are guided into action through connection with-in their bodies. At other times, stories show how nurses are taking pause and drawing on various somatic practices to unravel entanglements that touch on their own humanity. These stories also offer insight into how systemic forces, across educational and organizational institutions, are either enhancing or constraining the way nurses engage mindfulness as a relationally embodied ethic of care. This insightful volume is not a how-to guide, rather it is a timely resource exploring approaches for palliative care nurses to care for themselves and others with mindfulness and compassion.
Those seeking nuanced perspectives, particularly in relation to embodying mindfulness through suffering and strong emotion, will be drawn to this text. Qualitative researchers studying emotionally sensitive topics may also find inspiration in the narrative, arts-based, and embodied methods that shape this inquiry.
'Lacie White’s book is a portable support group for healthcare professionals. White presents her research not as impersonal findings, but as living voices of nurses who speak us as we walk through the labyrinth that structures her book. Thus instead of telling how to practice, White offers companionship in bearing the emotional and physical burdens of end-of-life care. The book can be read continuously or dipped into for moments of insight into compassionate care. Read either way, White evokes mindfulness rather than seeking to define it. Palliative Care Nursing as Mindfulness makes its readers more mindful as we walk its labyrinth.'
–Arthur W. Frank, Ph.D., FRSC, author of The Wounded Storyteller and Letting Stories Breathe.
'With the first words of Dr. White’s book "Listen. I have a story to tell", you will be swiftly swept into a journey that both opens minds and possibilities. In an artful and innovative way, she composes her writing like a labyrinth so that you are drawn into a sense of mindfulness about palliative care nursing. Her book is the epitome of how to experiment and play with one’s writing – it advances the field of arts-based research in ways that I have not seen before.'
–Dr. Jennifer Lapum, Professor, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Canada
'Lacie White beautifully weaves together storytelling, mindfulness, and the power of authentic connection in palliative care nursing. Powerful reminder of the joy and meaning of being a nurse, especially in caring for those in the last phase of their lives.'
–Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN, author of Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness, and president of the Mind & Life Institute