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Seminar Detail

5-Day Nurses Retreat: Decrease Stress and Overcome Emotional Complexities with Mindfulness & Meditation Skills, Tools & Techniques

Sunday, September 8, 2019 - Thursday, September 12, 2019

Course Description:

Rejuvenate yourself and your healing abilities with an incredible retreat at the Garrison Institute, a former Capuchin monastery overlooking the beautiful Hudson River. Earning 24 CE hours has never been more relaxing.

Your work is intense. Burnout and compassion fatigue follow the overwhelm of other people’s trauma and illness. Take the time to step away from your stressors, develop a new life perspective and the sense of renewal that you’ve been yearning for – something that most CE trainings will never give you!

While escaping to the majestic Hudson River valley setting, you’ll strengthen your own mindfulness and meditation practice, reduce your stress and enhance how you experience everything in both your personal and nursing lives. We will follow a balanced schedule of meditation, informative sessions, group discussion, gentle yoga movement, and transformational practices. This content-rich retreat is organized with plenty of down time for rest, rejuvenation and relaxation.

Experience the transformational practices of mindfulness, present moment awareness, meditation, self-compassion, and MORE!

  • More answers on how to alleviate stress
  • More techniques to handle burnout-inducing situations
  • More long-term strategies to maintain genuine compassion
  • More skills to contribute to positive and rewarding relationships with colleagues
  • More practice, guidance and feedback on utilizing mindfulness

Get the direction you’re seeking with the in-depth meditative and experiential practices that only a retreat can provide!

  • Immerse yourself in the healing energy of nurses
  • Discover “mindful moment” calming techniques
  • Apply compassion practices to soothe emotional distress
  • Develop communication skills that will defuse bullying and blaming
  • Increase support and cooperation across the healthcare team
  • Explore professional advocacy because meditation won’t fix workload problems
  • Learn the “transition to home practice” to bring workday closure and joy to your home life

No mindfulness or meditation experience needed!
Retreat Schedule

Sunday, September 8, 2019
3:00 - 6:00 pm – Check In
6:00 - 7:00 pm – Dinner
7:30 - 9:00 pm– Program Introduction/Evening Educational Session*

Monday – Wednesday, September 9-11, 2019
6:30 - 7:30 am – Yoga (optional)
8:00 - 9:00 am – Breakfast
9:30 am - 12:30 pm – Educational Session*
12:30 - 1:30 pm - Lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm – Individual Activity/Guided Hike – Monday Only (optional)
3:00 - 5:00 pm – Educational Session*
5:00 - 6:00 pm – Individual Activity
6:00 - 7:00 pm – Dinner
7:30 – 9:00 pm- Educational Session*

Thursday, September 12, 2019
6:30 – 7:30 am – Yoga (optional)
8:00 - 9:00 am - Breakfast
9:30 am – 12:30 pm – Educational Closing Session*
12:30 – 1:30 pm – Lunch and Retreat Conclusion

*CE is awarded during these specified times
Sleeping Accommodations:

If you would like to be paired up with another potential, unknown attendee to take advantage of the double occupancy rate, please call and let us know. We will aim to pair you up if somebody else registers who also would like to share.

In the meantime, please register at the single occupancy rate. If we are able to pair people, the $200 will be credited.


Highlights of the Institute
  • Tranquil, 95-acre park-like setting overlooking the Hudson River
  • Former Capuchin monastery
  • Gardens & gazebo on the bluff by the river
  • Healthful, world-renowned vegetarian cuisine
  • Beautiful walking paths
  • Ideal setting for meditation, contemplation
  • Yoga mat provided
Cancellation Policy: Prior to 45 days before the event start date, you will be charged a $100 cancel fee. For cancellations received after that, you will receive a gift certificate for your purchase amount to attend any future live PESI sponsored seminar.

Please contact PESI customer service for information on non-CE seeking to register as a guest for pricing and other details.

  1. Practice in the moment techniques to decrease stress including Mindful Handwashing, Mindful Check-In and Grounding in the Body.
  2. Evaluate common workplace stressors and rate them on a scale of 1-10.
  3. Examine the physiological and psychological effects of chronic stress.
  4. Compare the stress reactions and the stress response.
  5. Create a personalized Calm Kit filled with relaxing items: i.e. stress balls, touchstones, pictures, and essential oils.
  6. Compare-core components of mindfulness including meditation, the present moment, awareness, and the mind body connection.
  7. Evaluate how mindfulness practice is related to stress reduction.
  8. Apply stress reduction strategies in your professional and personal life.
  9. Explain the concept of burnout and apply the Maslach Burnout Assessment Tool.
  10. Evaluate workplace factors leading to burnout: workload, rewards, fairness, autonomy, values and community.
  11. Compare and contrast empathy and compassion.
  12. Summarize the core components of self-compassion.
  13. Discover calming phrases, images and gestures to help process difficult emotions.
  14. Apply mindful communication techniques to patient care scenarios.
  15. Formulate communication guidelines.
  16. Differentiate between toxic and healthy workplace environments.
  17. Analyze the Four Components of Non Violent Communication (NVC).
  18. Apply the Nonviolent Communication Model to communication scenarios.
  19. Formulate a plan to support a person who is being bullied in the workplace.
  20. Establish techniques to increase teamwork and cooperation in the workplace.
  21. Formulate a realistic plan to destress in the middle of a busy workday.
  22. Examine the Serious Medication Error Case Study, apply concepts of Just Culture; and draw conclusions that can be applied to your workplace.
  23. Develop strategies to increase mindfulness in your work, bring closure to the workday, and home life.
  24. Describe ways to bring closure to the workday.

Know: Your Stress: Naming your Top 5 External and Internal Stressors
  • Workplace, Home, Internal and Situational Stressors
  • Recognize Your Stress: Reactivity Pattern: Are you a Flight, Fight or Freezer?
  • Understand Stress and Disease
Immediate Stress Relief
  • Learn 10 in the Moment, Fast Acting Stress Relievers
  • Practice: The Mindful Check In
  • Practice: Stimulating the Relaxation Response
Explore Mindfulness
  • Intention/Attention/Attitude
  • The Present Moment
  • Experience: Mindful Eating Practice
  • Experience: Mindful Handwashing Practice
  • Experience the Mind-Body Connection with the Body Scan Practice
Focus and Concentration
  • Calm the Mind
  • Mindfulness and Patient Safety
  • Explore the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)
  • Research-Based Benefits of Meditation
  • Experience: Mindful Breathing Practice
Nursing and Negative Stress Reaction Patterns
  • Awareness: How Stress Can Become Distress
  • Burnout: Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalization and Loss of Personal Efficacy
  • Empathetic Distress/Compassion Fatigue
  • Learned Helplessness, Overwork, Perfectionism
  • Rate Yourself with the Maslach Burnout Inventory
Caring and Compassion: Explore the Heart of Nursing
  • Connecting to Job Satisfaction
  • Titrating Emotional Distress on a Scale of 1 - 10
  • Experience: Compassion Practice #1 For When Your Client’s Emotional Content Distresses You
  • Experience: Compassion Practice #2 A Self Soothing practice for when your Own Emotional Content (Anger, Worry, Shame, Doubt) is overwhelming
  • Awareness Exercise: When You are Upset How do You like to be Comforted
Mindful Communication
  • Communication Guidelines
  • Explore the Nonviolent Communication Model (NVC)
  • Apply NVC to Communication Scenarios
  • Experience: Metaphoric Dialogue a Transformative Practice for Discovering New Insights to Tricky Work Problems
Stress, Mindfulness and The Health Care Organization
  • Heavy Workload, Emotional Intensity, Lack of Support and Other Workplace Stressors
  • Case Study: New Mother Nurse Encounters Multiple Obstacles While Getting Ready for Work
  • Mindful Time Management
  • What to Do and Say When a Coworker
    • Wants to Control You
    • Refuses to Accept Help
    • Is Hypercritical
  • Navigate Workplace Bullying: Verbal Abuse, Eyerolling Toxic Gossip
  • Tips and Techniques to Destress in the Middle of a Busy Shift
  • Navigate Evocative Situations: Dumping, Venting, Debriefing, and Processing Emotions
  • Team Build: Increase Support and Cooperation Between Coworkers
Workplace Safety and Professional Advocacy
  • Case Study: A Competent Fatigued Nurse makes a Serious Medication Error
    • Multiple Causalities for the Medication Error
    • Negative Emotions that Arise
    • Apply Mindfulness and Compassion Practices to the Situation
    • Support your Coworker in Difficult Times
Mindfulness and Self Care: Keys to a Sustainable Nursing Career
  • Transition from Work to Home Practices
  • Grow a Meditation Practice
  • Create Wellness: Safety, Physical Fitness, Diet, Sleep and Meditation
  • Integrate Mindfulness into the Workplace

Sara and Robin will be available for one-on-one and small group sessions during the retreat. Times to be announced.
Target Audience

  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Nurse Educators


Sara Lefkowitz, MPA, BSN, RN, is a dynamic and engaging speaker who presents highly-acclaimed seminars on Stress Reduction for Nurses throughout the United States. She has firsthand knowledge of the challenges that nurses face through her years working in large urban hospitals on medical surgical units and in the emergency department. Being a wife and mother, she understands the difficulties of juggling family and career responsibilities.

Sara is a tenured nursing education professor in Northern California where she specializes in teaching medical surgical nursing. She has served as the assistant director of the nursing program and has worked extensively on course and curriculum development.

In 2013, Sara took a yearlong sabbatical to learn practical techniques to help the stressed out, overworked nurse. She studied Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and trained as a MBRS facilitator. She studied Vipassana Meditation at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She learned compassion practices through the study of Vajrayana Buddhism with Tara Mandala founder Lama Tsultrim Allione and her authorized teachers. Sara uses these practices every day to cope with the stresses of daily living, personal losses, and her tendencies toward overwork and burnout.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Sara Lefkowitz is a tenured nursing faculty for College of Marin. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Nonfinancial: Sara Lefkowitz is a member of the American Nurses Association; and the San Francisco Bay Area Tara Mandela Sangha.


Robin Gayle, PhD, MFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; clinically trained EMDR and Hypnotherapist; and professor of counseling psychology. Robin’s private psychotherapy practice spans over 20 years in Kentfield, Marin County, California for individuals, couples, and groups where she utilizes Client-Centered Listening, Narrative Therapy, Guided Imagery, and Focusing to examine and shift patterns and reactions, and EMDR therapy for trauma recovery and performance enhancement. Robin is a well known group psychotherapist specializing in mindfulness groups and is a trained facilitator in Rothberg’s Working with the Judgmental Mind. Her tenure as professor is with the Department of Counseling Psychology at Dominican University of California where she chairs the department and teaches graduate level counseling psychology courses to those aspiring to be marriage and family therapists.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists
American Nurses Credentialing Center Logo
PESI, Inc. is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Nurses in full attendance will earn 24.0 contact hours. Partial contact hours will be awarded for partial attendance.

California Nurses: PESI, Inc. is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 17118 for 24.0 contact hours. Full attendance is required. No partial contact hours will be issued for partial attendance.

Florida Nurses:
PESI, Inc. is an approved provider with the Florida Board of Nursing, Provider # FBN2858. This course qualifies for 24.0 contact hours.

Iowa Nurses: PESI, Inc. is an approved provider by the Iowa Board of Nursing. Provider #: 346. Full attendance at this activity qualifies for 24.0 contact hours. Full attendance in the activity is required; no partial contact hours will be issued for partial attendance. These contact hours are used for your license renewal. Copies of the evaluation may be sent to the IBON. You will need to provide your license number to PESI. PESI must have this number on file in order for your hours to be valid.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 1440 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

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