I’m sitting in a ballroom in the gorgeous Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, MI, surrounded (mostly) by nursing professionals at this conference hosted by the Oakland University School of Nursing.
The first speaker is Sharon M. Freeman Clevenger, talking about cognitive behavior therapy. Essentially, this involves testing a patient’s beliefs and behaviors, exploring their cognitive processes through Socratic questioning, and then teaching the patient how to adjust and correct that thinking. It can also involve looking at one’s behaviors over time and considering nutritional/sleep/environmental issues, as well. Is there an anthropological angle? Perhaps, in that anthropologists are good at sussing out the worldview, the cognition, of those we work with, and that we take a holistic view. CBT is therapeutic and seeks to correct that worldview if it’s seen as dysfunctional, and it seems (to me) that this level of “fixing people” is outside our bailiwick.. However, this is an excellent and informative talk by a dynamic, well-educated professional.
Update: The second talk is by the Venerable Bup Chon Sunim (Brent Eastman) who is a member of the clergy staff at Muddy Water Zen temple in Royal Oak and also creative and brand director at identity, a PR firm. His workshop is full of humor and anecdotes, as well as helpful tips about Buddhist monks (no, he does not know the Dalai Lama or Richard Gere, and rubbing his belly will not bring you luck). His talk is about finding compassion in the workplace through mindfulness training. He guided us through a couple of different exercises and described a stress-reduction experiment with 25 nursing students where they were asked to participate in 10 minutes of meditation per day, journal twice a week, and use an online community forum. What was the result? People guessed that stress levels went down, happiness went up, and the students worked together better. nope. There was a 100% dropout rate from the program, even from students who said they were seeing benefits. Mindfulness takes a commitment.
Again, is there an anthropological component? Being mindful and compassionate is important in our practice, helping us acknowledge our filters and think past them (as much as we can) to see those around us. I can definitely see the value there.Update: Our lunchtime speaker was Paul McGhee, a member of Oakland University’s charter class, who talked about therapeutic humor. I’d like to read his research, but he may have gotten distracted by the excellent morning speakers and his presentation was scattered and hard to follow.
Update: The first afternoon speaker is Lorraine M. Wright, speaking about “Spirituality, Suffering and Illness: Lessons Learned from Research, Clinical Families, and Living Life”. Her anecdote-filled talk discussed acknowledging the suffering of patients and their loved ones, understanding what it means to them, and offering hope and compassion. Anthropologically, I really liked that she spoke about acknowledging and “making true” the suffering experience of others.
Update: The final speaker of the day was Kathleen Van Wagoner, who talked about relationship-based care. She was very focused on the nursing profession and the RBC program at Crittenton. At one point, she spoke about admission to the ER from a patient point of view: he is asked for ID and insurance before being asked to (briefly) explain why he is there, is tagged with a wristband, is often unclothed and put in a flat position whether it is needed or not, and is subjected to tests that may be uncomfortable and poorly explained. After that, if he has to stay the night, he has to give his important belongings — wedding ring, wallet — to someone else to take away. “You’re important to us, but you can’t see us, you can’t hear us, and we have taken away your identity. Then we say, ‘Trust’.”