Dr. Barry Kerzin meditating with a group of UPMC nurses. Photo by Tracy Certo.

Why don’t we do this more often?

Dr. Kerzin then led the nurses in silent, breath-focused meditation in three short sessions over half an hour. Some loved it, others new to meditation said it wasn’t easy. One, clearly relaxed, asked, “Why don’t we do this more often?”

Meditation takes practice, says Dr. Kerzin. But he points out that since we take time to brush our teeth every day, we can find the time to meditate, a very healthy practice, even if only for a few minutes.

Cecelia Zamarripa, RN, who manages a small group of nurses working with patients with inflammatory bowel disease who struggle with bedsores and anxiety, was taken with Dr. Kerzin and the training. “It’s very applicable not only to work, but everyday life,” she said. “If we help model some of the practices we learn, that would be a good start.”

Ashley Layton, another nurse, agreed. “This is great. Mindfulness is so important, not only for the nurses, but also everyone else, too.” While this was the first time she had heard of Dr. Kerzin, she was familiar with other mindfulness and meditation programs at UPMC.

“It’s been incredibly popular,” says Lorenz. Nurses have expressed gratitude for the training, and “overall there’s extremely wide interest in this.”

The goal is to continue the training with the nurses and extend the program virtually to UPMC nurses who are further from Pittsburgh.

Dr. Kerzin, who is in great demand these days, should be back in Pittsburgh in the fall.