Amidst burnout, Council Bluffs nurses talk about the importance of mindfulness

Posted at 6:14 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 19:14:42-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — Frontline workers faced exhaustion and stress throughout the pandemic. To help deal with the stress, two ICU nurses at CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs began practicing self-care.

For ICU Nurse Janaye Decker, life threw one curveball after another.

"I lost my dad to cancer and then I lost my best friend to cancer and then COVID happened," Decker said.

Fellow nurse Ashley Pope was also struggling.

"A lot of stress...we didn't know what was happening from day to day all the time. Policies and procedures always changing, the amount of patients fluctuating," Pope said.

That's when both decided to do something about it. Pope started incorporating yoga into the workplace and taking fellow colleagues to the hospital's safe haven dubbed the "Zen Den."

"I always try to get the girls to come do stretches with me or just like simple poses," Pope said.

Decker decided to learn about life coaching.

"I kind of want to turn my mess into my message. I have my own struggles that I deal with and I think it's important to bring awareness to just the everyday challenges we all go through and knowing we're not alone," Decker said.

Both say practicing mindfulness has enabled them to be better nurses.

"If you aren't in control of your day-to-day self, you can't do anything for anybody else," Pope said.

They're bettering themselves by prioritizing the way they prioritize their patients.

Decker plans on hosting a mindfulness workshop sometime in September with 10-15 spaces open. Sign-ups will be open on her Instagram.

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