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ILFFPS Symposium Speaker Wendy Lund

Today we will hear from Speaker Wendy Lund of Wellth Management

Sign up for the ILFFPS 2019 Symposium to see Wendy Lund’s session.

Tell our readers a little about your own journey

I graduated from as a RN when I was 19.  My clinical background largely was focused in the area of acute medicine and ICU.  

I began what would become a 32-year career as a professor at Centennial College in Toronto, Ontario.  Academically I was situated in teaching the sciences (physiology and pathophysiology) firstly to nursing students, but the last 22 years devoted to the paramedic program where coordinating also became part of my academic portfolio.  

I became increasingly aware (and concerned) about the mental wellbeing of our student population.  The academic rigor of the program demanded that students be academically buoyant. I was witness for many years on some not so helpful cultural values and belief that said ‘if they can’t handle the stress of the program then they can’t handle this profession’.   That’s a fair statement for sure, but I could not help but wonder where we were teaching them the how to handle the stress. The gap in the curriculum grew larger and larger for me as time went on.

My curiosity grew and compelled me to bring the art and science of mindfulness to the students about 8 years ago.  I did so largely without a lot of support or cheerleading from the other paramedic faculty who largely saw mindfulness as being too soft for the toughness needed to be a first responder.  I’m happy to say that there has been a huge shift in how we view mindfulness and mental health of our novice first responders.

A like-minded peer of mind from another program offered a mini mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course to help students prepare for their practical exams (OSCE’s).  It was so well received by the original group that within a few years, it became a full fledge student association that became known as “Mindful Medics”. If you have access to the journal Canadian Paramedicine, you can find an article I wrote with Dr. Walter Tavares that shares the journey and introduction of mindfulness to paramedicine.  

From a small group of students, Mindful Medics became a safe space for students to emotionally rehearse their novice experiences with trauma, tragedy and the general stressors of the program.  We saw upwards of 70 students a week coming on their own time to discuss these stressors and for me to share how mindfulness & compassion can help to regulate strong emotional responses in them, no matter what the nature of the stressor was.

In my early 50’s, I went back to school myself.  In the fall of 2017, I completed a 4 year graduate program and am now one of a few people globally with a MSc in Mindfulness Studies (University of Aberdeen, Scotland).  

My thesis title: Name it, Tame it, Frame it:  a qualitative descriptive studying investigating the experience of trauma in paramedics became the foundation of a body of research that now underpins Reach for Resiliency [R4R], the first certificate program for teaching proactive resiliency skills.  

I retired early from a wonderful career in teaching others in a paramedic program to founding Wellth Management Inc. where I could teach many others about what I now know to be effective in building wellth from the inside out.  

I tweeted a while back what would really become my thesis in 140 characters and summarizes my passion and my purpose;

“When you teach first responders to manage a difficult airway, you save pt’s lives, when you teach them how to manage difficult emotions, you save theirs.”

@WLund100

 

Give us a short summary about the topic you will be presenting at the symposium.

I’m super excited to share an overview of what Reach for Resiliency [R4R] is all about.

I’ll be introducing the theoretical underpinnings of the 3 theories/models that R4R is based on ~ all of which are evidence-based.  The 3 theories are:

 

  1. compassionate-based mindfulness
  2. salutogenesis & Sense of Coherence (Aaron Antonovsky’s work on health promotion)
  3. logotherapy (Victor Frankl’s psychotherapy on meaning & purpose.

 

I’ll be debunking some of the predominant myths and misperceptions of mindfulness and stress and share how the biology of our brains and body can be used to habituate patterns of thoughts and behaviours that can promote resiliency and help us to work safely in vocations where trauma and tragedy loom large.  

The session will also provide participants with some easy take-away skills/interventions that they can begin to use to practice presence.

 

What’s the one take-away that a participant can implement immediately?

I would hope that someone walks away with this ~ each new moment is an opportunity to practice awareness of your thoughts and feelings and that you are not a passive passenger of your mind.  

Life is not about avoiding stress (trauma and tragedy), it’s about learning how to engage stress in a way that continually moves us back to our best potential, not just about avoiding injury or illness.