How many times during your day are you clenching your jaw, tensing your shoulders or taking shallow breaths? While working in healthcare is very rewarding, it can also generate high levels of stress. Utilizing a mind body approach can be effective in managing this stress and improving the quality of your interactions with others. This was illustrated in many ways by guest speaker Matthew Sanford when he returned to PVMC for a second visit May 3 – 5. Matthew, who is paraplegic as the result of a car accident at age 13, is a dedicated yoga teacher, author of the book Waking, inspirational speaker and leading voice in the integrative health movement. He is the founder of the non-profit Mind Body Solutions in Minneapolis, which is “dedicated to transforming trauma, loss and disability into hope and potential by awakening the connection between mind and body.”
As the recipient of some dramatic healthcare interventions since his accident, Matthew has experienced firsthand the impact that providers can have on their patients. He emphasizes that, through mind-body exploration, providers need to nourish themselves to enable optimal healthcare delivery. Describing the typical healthcare provider as a “pathological giver,” he teaches methods to simultaneously give and receive while interacting with patients to reduce caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue.
In addition to delivering his powerful message during a sold-out presentation to staff and community participants, Matthew taught two 6-hour interactive workshops attended by PVMC employees. Participants learned many calming, grounding and supportive techniques to apply to themselves as well as their patients, as well as practical tools to use throughout the work day.
“Many may think that Matthew Sanford’s techniques on mind body connection are too complicated or involved; the fact is they are very simple to use and apply. One can support fellow colleagues, or if you’re a caregiver, find ways to support your patients,” John Hicks, Platte Valley’s President and CEO stated after practicing several techniques at the employee workshop May 5th.
Other workshop attendees expressed appreciation for the value of this unique experience. Nida Tansinsin, PT said, “Matthew was able to show what we can do to help ourselves, each other and of course, our patients. He emphasized that one of the most powerful ways to help our patients is by taking care of ourselves; being mindful of our own stresses and how we can teach more than just technique, anatomy, exercises, etc. He helped me see how to treat patients as a whole, not just diagnose as we are taught in school.”