My journey to become an MBSR Teacher

Sep 26, 2018

It was on a trip to a local book store one day in October, about 10 years ago now, that I crossed paths with a gentleman who would become one of my many teachers.  After chatting for a short time, he invited me to a workshop that he was offering the following weekend.  This was my introduction to mindfulness-based practices and meditation and informed what has become a daily practice for me ever since.

In my work as a public health nurse, there has been growing interest in mindfulness-based practices and their applications in health care settings.  Inquiries about these practices are frequently received from colleagues, as well as from our community clients, schools and workplaces.

The results of a survey conducted with public health nurses and professionals at my workplace identified an interest in mindfulness-based practices and promotion of compassion in the workplace, with staff recognizing the potential benefits for both themselves and clients.

To enhance my capacity to support others, I began exploring professional development programs and completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Facilitation Certificate program at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto.

Since completing the program, I have been involved in the development and facilitation of a mindfulness meditation program for staff at my workplace.  Our group is a weekly drop-in that offers the opportunity to connect, share and practice together.  We welcome an average of 8-10 staff each week.

Feedback has been very positive with staff reporting an increased sense of calm and relaxation, enhanced attention and ability to focus at work and use of practices and techniques in their personal and professional lives.

I just feel more relaxed when I come to the group and I notice the difference for the rest of the day.  Other people notice it in me too.”

“I used one of the techniques we practiced at the group when I was in a stressful situation and I noticed how I didn’t react the same way I usually would.”

“My mind is so busy all the time and this helps me to be more present.”

Recently, I also had the opportunity to collaborate on a presentation about mindfulness and other self-care strategies for a provincial network of public health nurses.  This was done in collaboration with Jacquie Dover, who is a Public Health Nurse with the Region of Peel and is also a graduate of the MBSR Facilitation Certificate program.

The professional development programs offered at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies have supported me in cultivating my own practice while enhancing my capacity to support others, within my own workplace and beyond.  I am so grateful to The Centre and their staff for the unique opportunities they provide, and I look forward to continuing to apply these in my personal and professional practice.

Bernadette Riordan is a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Facilitation Certificate program at The Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto.  She is a Registered Nurse and currently works as a Public Health Nurse with the Durham Region Health Department.

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