Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Job Climate on Healthcare Workers Job Satisfaction

Mindfulness Reduces the Impact of Job Climate on Healthcare Workers Job Satisfaction

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

being mindful at work can reduce your level of emotional exhaustion, help keep your emotions on an even keel, and increase your job satisfaction.” – Fox News

 

In high stress occupations, like healthcare work, burnout is all too prevalent. It is characterized by fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, professional inefficacy, and low job satisfaction that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion.

 

It is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur and thereby make them better healthcare providers. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being, and job satisfaction in healthcare workers.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness as a Protective Factor for Dissatisfaction in HCWs: The Moderating Role of Mindful Attention between Climate Stress and Job Satisfaction.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312809/) Ramaci and colleagues recruited nurses from an emergency hospital and had them complete measures of occupational stress, including managerial roles, relationships with other people, organizational structure, and power subscales, mindfulness, job control, and job satisfaction.

 

They found that occupational work climate was negatively related to job satisfaction. But mindful attention was found to moderate this relationship such that the higher the nurses’ levels of mindful attention the smaller the negative impact of occupational work climate on job satisfaction.

 

Stressful organizational climates are characterized by limited participation in decisions, use of punishment and negative feedback, conflict avoidance or confrontation, and non-supportive group and leader relations. The study reports, not surprisingly, that this type of climate is related to low job satisfaction in nurses. These organizational climates tend to poison the work environment leading to unhappiness and low satisfaction with their jobs. But mindfulness may help nurses cope with such a negative climate. High levels of mindfulness lessen the negative relationship between organizational climate and job satisfaction.

 

Mindfulness has been shown to decrease the physiological and psychological impact of stress. This may account for its moderating effect on the impact of organizational climate on job satisfaction. The mindful nurses are simply less stressed by the climate. It may also be the case that mindful nurses are more focused on the immediate job, with less intrusive thoughts about a negative climate. By focusing on the job itself, they are more affected by the satisfaction of helping others and thereby less impacted by the organizational climate. Regardless, it is clear the being mindful is an asset that can assist nurses in coping with the organizational climate. It remains for future research to determine causation by training nurses in mindfulness and observing the effects of this training on the stresses produced by negative organizational climates.

 

So, mindfulness reduces the impact of job climate on healthcare workers job satisfaction.

 

Mindfulness in the workplace is most likely beneficial, whether the end goal is productivity or – more broadly speaking – employee wellness.” – Marlynn Wei

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ramaci, T., Rapisarda, V., Bellini, D., Mucci, N., De Giorgio, A., & Barattucci, M. (2020). Mindfulness as a Protective Factor for Dissatisfaction in HCWs: The Moderating Role of Mindful Attention between Climate Stress and Job Satisfaction. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(11), 3818. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113818

 

Abstract

With the aim of investigating the possible moderating effect of job control and dispositional mindfulness between different sources of organizational stress and job satisfaction, a correlational study was designed involving health care workers (HCWs). The following questionnaires were administered and completed by 237 HCWs: (1) Occupational Stress Indicator (OSI), to measure the sources of stress at work (managerial role, climate power, climate structure, internal relationships), and job satisfaction; (2) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) to assess the individual’s level of attention to what is taking place in the present; (3) Job Control Scale (JCS) to assess the perceived control at work. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to test the hypothesized relationships between variables; the results showed that, between the different sources of stress, the organizational climate dimension was negatively associated with job satisfaction; moreover, mindfulness attention moderated the relationship between climate stress and job satisfaction; unexpectedly, the interaction between job control and the organizational climate dimension was not significant in affecting job satisfaction. This study can provide useful information for Human Resources Management (HRM) practices regarding job and mental control interventions and empowerment, and possibly offer a new interpretation of the role of attention to what is happening in the present moment and autonomy between climate stressors and occupational satisfaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312809/

 

Improve Health Care Professional Self-Compassion with Mindfulness

Improve Health Care Professional Self-Compassion with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness is especially suited to physicians, because it can help counteract the worrying, perfectionism and self-judgment that are so common among doctors.” – WellMD

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep.

 

One way that mindfulness may help reduce burnout is by improving self-compassion. Self-compassion is “treating oneself with kindness and understanding when facing suffering, seeing one’s failures as part of the human condition, and having a balanced awareness of painful thoughts and emotions” (Kristin Neff). This may reduce the perfectionism and self-judgement that is common among physicians and thereby reduce burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Self-compassion in Health Care Professionals: a Meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223423/), Wasson and colleagues review summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of mindfulness training in improving self-compassion in physicians. They identified 28 published research studies.

 

They found that the published research reports that mindfulness-based interventions produced significant improvements in self-compassion in a variety of health care professionals. The effects sizes were moderate and there were no indications of publication bias. These results are important as having compassion for oneself is a prerequisite to having true compassion for others and this is essential for patient treatment. In addition, self-compassion may inoculate the health care worker from burnout. Hence, mindfulness training is important for health care professionals.

 

So, improve health care professional self-compassion with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness is growing in popularity as a way of promoting self-compassion among physicians. “This is all about being aware and in tune with yourself, learning to listen to your body and your mind so you know what you need and can give that to yourself.” – Kevin Teoh

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Rachel S. Wasson, Clare Barratt, William H. O’Brien, Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Self-compassion in Health Care Professionals: a Meta-analysis. Mindfulness (N Y) 2020 Mar 5 : 1–21. doi: 10.1007/s12671-020-01342-5

 

Abstract

Objectives

Health care professionals have elevated rates of burnout and compassion fatigue which are correlated with poorer quality of life and patient care, and inversely correlated with self-compassion. Primary studies have evaluated the extent to which mindfulness-based interventions increase self-compassion with contradictory findings. A meta-analytic review of the literature was conducted to quantitatively synthesize the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on self-compassion among health care professionals.

Methods

Twenty-eight treatment outcome studies were identified eligible for inclusion. Five cumulative effect sizes were calculated using random-effects models to evaluate differences of changes in self-compassion for treatment and control groups. Within and between group comparisons were evaluated. Sub-group and moderator analyses were conducted to explore potential moderating variables.

Results

Twenty-seven articles (k = 29, N = 1020) were utilized in the pre-post-treatment meta-analysis. Fifteen samples (52%) included health care professionals and fourteen (48%) professional health care students. Results showed a moderate effect size between pre-post-treatment comparisons (g = .61, 95% CI = .47 to .76) for self-compassion and a strong effect size for pre-treatment to follow-up (g = .76, 95% CI = .41 to 1.12). The effect size comparing post-treatment versus post-control was moderate. One exploratory moderator analysis was significant, with stronger effects for interventions with a retreat component.

Conclusions

Findings suggest mindfulness-based interventions improve self-compassion in health care professionals. Additionally, a variety of mindfulness-based programs may be useful for employees and trainees. Future studies with rigorous methodology evaluating effects on self-compassion and patient care from mindfulness-based interventions are warranted to extend findings and explore moderators.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223423/

 

Mindful Nurses are Better Nurses

Mindful Nurses are Better Nurses

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness practice helps nurses to be more fully present with their patients and themselves. The ability to pay attention to what is happening “right now,” in this room with this patient, and not be distracted by other demands and concerns, creates space to use your wisdom and knowledge effectively and with care for the dignity of each patient. Being more present to your own experience and habitual responses increases your ability to manage stress and enhances decision-making, well-being, and self-efficacy.” – Sandra Bernstein

 

In high stress occupations, like nursing, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

It is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur and thereby make them better in their roles as healthcare providers. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being, dedication, and compassion in nurses.

 

In today’s Research News article “The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship of mindfulness with engagement in nursing.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947930/), Pérez-Fuentes and colleagues recruited Spanish nurses and had them complete measures of mindfulness, empathy, including measures of cognitive and affective empathy, and work engagement including measures of vitality, dedication and absorption.

 

A correlational analysis revealed that the higher the level of mindfulness the higher the level of work engagement including vitality, dedication and absorption and cognitive empathy, and the lower the level of affective empathy. A mediation analysis of these data revealed that mindfulness had direct associations and also indirect associations via cognitive empathy with higher work engagement including vitality, dedication and absorption. That is that mindfulness was directly associated with work engagement and also indirectly associated as a result of mindfulness being associated with higher cognitive empathy that was, in turn, associated with higher work engagement.

 

These findings are correlational and as such causation cannot be established. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that mindful nurses have greater levels of energy (vigor), feel greater challenge and enthusiasm for their work (dedication), have greater attention to and concentration on their work (absorption), and have a better intellectual understanding of the feelings of others (cognitive empathy). In addition, mindful nurses, because they have higher levels of cognitive empathy, have additionally higher levels of work engagement.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness is an important contributor to the work engagement, vigor, and absorption of nurses. This suggests that mindful nurses are better nurses. Future research should attempt to determine causation by training the nurses in mindfulness and observing whether work engagement increases and burnout decreases as a result of the training.

 

So, mindful nurses are better nurses.

 

Nursing is a high-stress profession that may be taking a toll on our nurses. Mindfulness-based programs can help nurses develop skills to manage clinical stress and improve their health; increase overall attention, empathy, and presence with patients and families; and experience work satisfaction, serenity, decreased incidental overtime, and reduced job burnout.” – Sue Penque

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Pérez-Fuentes, M., Gázquez Linares, J. J., Molero Jurado, M., Simón Márquez, M., & Martos Martínez, Á. (2020). The mediating role of cognitive and affective empathy in the relationship of mindfulness with engagement in nursing. BMC public health, 20(1), 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8129-7

 

Abstract

Background

The work of health professionals is characterized by a high demand for psychological and emotional resources and high levels of stress. Therefore, the promotion of commitment and job well-being through strategies such as increased mindfulness, is important among nursing workers. Although mindfulness has shown positive effects in the health field, few studies have explored the mechanisms and processes underlying these results. We investigated the mediating role of empathy (cognitive/affective) in the effect of mindfulness on the dimensions of engagement in nursing professionals.

Methods

Sample was comprised of 1268 Spanish nurses between 22 and 62 years old, that completed the Utrecht Labor Engagement Scale and the adapted versions of Mindful Attention Awareness Scale and Basic Empathy Scale. The relationship between variables to be included in the regression analyses, bivariate correlations were carried out, and the descriptive statistics of these variables were also found. To estimate the mediation model was used, in this case for multiple mediation effects.

Results

Mindfulness is found to affect the Vigor and Dedication factors of engagement through cognitive empathy. While for the Absorption factor, the affective component of empathy also exerts a mediating role, although weaker than cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy, as an individual factor, was shown to have a mediating effect between mindfulness and the factors of engagement in healthcare workers.

Conclusions

The level of mindfulness influences engagement of nursing professionals positively, and this result is mediated mainly by cognitive empathy. Both mindfulness and empathy are modifiable individual factors, so their intervention by designing and implementing specific programs, can increase the commitment and wellbeing of professionals generating benefits to workers and to their patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947930/

 

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

Mindfulness Training Improves the Psychological Health of Health Care Professionals

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Levels of stress and burnout in the healthcare profession have been exacerbated in recent decades by significant changes in how health care is delivered and administered. Extensive research has shown that mindfulness training . . . can have significant positive impacts on participants’ job satisfaction; their relationships with patients, co-workers and administration; and their focus and creativity at work.” – WPHP

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion.

 

Improving the psychological health of health care professionals has to be a priority. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to improve the psychological health of medical professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/), Barattucci and colleagues recruited doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants and randomly assigned them to either a no-treatment control condition or to receive self-awareness/mindfulness training. The training occurred in 4 8-hour group sessions and emphasized mindfulness, emotion regulation, counseling techniques and skills to deal with stress. They were measured before and 6 months after training for anxiety, perceived stress, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that 6 months after training the self-awareness/mindfulness training group had significant reductions in perceived stress and anxiety and significant improvements in emotion regulation while the control group did not. They also found that the higher the levels of emotion regulation the lower the levels of anxiety and perceived stress.

 

The intervention of self-awareness/mindfulness training involves a complex set of trainings and it cannot be determined which component or combination of components are responsible for the effects. But it has been shown in previous research showing that mindfulness training produces lasting improvements in emotion regulation, reductions in anxiety and perceived stress, and improvements in the psychological health of healthcare workers. Hence, it can be concluded that at least the mindfulness training component of the self-awareness/mindfulness training is effective. It was not established but it is assumed that these psychological improvements will lead to greater resilience and decrease burnout in healthcare workers.

 

So, mindfulness training improves the psychological health of health care professionals.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, rumination, and stress, and to improve self-compassion and positive mood states in health care professionals. Second, the practice of mindfulness improves qualities that are critical to effective treatment, such as attention, empathy, emotion regulation, and affect tolerance.” – Shauna Shapiro

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Barattucci, M., Padovan, A. M., Vitale, E., Rapisarda, V., Ramaci, T., & De Giorgio, A. (2019). Mindfulness-Based IARA Model® Proves Effective to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Health Care Professionals. A Six-Month Follow-Up Study. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(22), 4421. doi:10.3390/ijerph16224421

 

Abstract

Changes in the health care environment, together with specific work-related stressors and the consequences on workers’ health and performance, have led to the implementation of prevention strategies. Among the different approaches, those which are mindfulness-based have been institutionally recommended with an indication provided as to their effectiveness in the management of stress. The aim of the present study was to analyze the efficacy of the mindfulness-based IARA Model® (an Italian acronym translatable into meeting, compliance, responsibility, autonomy) in order to ameliorate perceived stress, anxiety and enhance emotional regulation among health care professionals (HCPs; i.e., doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants). Four hundred and ninety-seven HCPs, 215 (57.2%) of which were women, were randomly assigned to a mindfulness-based training or control group and agreed to complete questionnaires on emotion regulation difficulties (DERS), anxiety, and perceived stress. Results showed that HCPs who attended the IARA training, compared to the control group, had better emotional regulation, anxiety and stress indices after 6 months from the end of the intervention. Furthermore, the results confirmed the positive relationship between emotional regulation, perceived stress and anxiety. The present study contributes to literature by extending the effectiveness of IARA in improving emotional regulation and well-being in non-clinical samples. Moreover, the study provides support for the idea that some specific emotional regulation processes can be implicated in perceived stress and anxiety. From the application point of view, companies should invest more in stress management intervention, monitoring and training, in order to develop worker skills, emotional self-awareness, and relational resources.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888054/

 

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve Well-Being in Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“For nurses, many of them went into the field because of their ability to connect with people and make a difference in their lives. Mindfulness is a path to help us reconnect with what brings meaning to the profession. It brings humanity back to healthcare.” – Susan Bauer-Wu

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress and improve well-being. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout and improve well-being in nurses.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/), Penque recruited Registered Nurses (RNs). They participated in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. The MBSR program consists of 8 weekly 1-hour group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The participants were also encouraged to perform daily practice at home. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for mindfulness, self-compassion, serenity, interpersonal reactivity, work satisfaction, and burnout.

 

She found that following the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program there were significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion including  self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, serenity, and interpersonal reactivity including perspective taking, and empathetic concern. There were also significant decreases in burnout, isolation, overidentification, self-judgment, and personal distress. She also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness, the higher the levels of self-compassion and serenity.

 

The results must be interpreted with caution as there wasn’t a control, comparison, group. So, potential confounds such as placebo effects, experimenter bias, Hawthorne effects, etc. were present. Other, better controlled studies, however, have demonstrated that mindfulness training increases self-compassion and reduces burnout. So, it is likely that these same benefits of mindfulness training occurred here irrespective of confounding conditions.

 

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is a complex of meditation, yoga, and body scan practices. It is not possible to determine which components or combination of components were responsible for the benefits. Regardless, the results suggest that MBSR training is a safe and effective program to improve the well-being of nurses and reduce burnout. This can not only improve the psychological health of the nurses but also improve the retention of these valuable and important healthcare workers.

 

So, improve well-being in nurses with mindfulness.

 

Mindfulness can positively affect how nurses feel and cope with the pressures of their work, thereby resulting in better self-care and improved patient outcomes.” – Nursing Times

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Penque S. (2019). Mindfulness to promote nurses’ well-being. Nursing management, 50(5), 38–44. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000557621.42684.c4

 

This article examines the effects of MBSR on job-relevant factors, including mindfulness, self-compassion, empathy, serenity, work satisfaction, incidental overtime, and job burnout. Nursing is a high-stress profession that may be taking a toll on our nurses. Mindfulness-based programs can help nurses develop skills to manage clinical stress and improve their health; increase overall attention, empathy, and presence with patients and families; and experience work satisfaction, serenity, decreased incidental overtime, and reduced job burnout.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716566/

 

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

Improve the Mental Health on Intensive Care Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Nurses are particularly vulnerable to stress and burnout, with little time in their schedule to commit to self-care or intensive stress reduction programs” . . . on-the-job mindfulness-based intervention is viable for this nursing population. In addition to reductions in stress and burnout, participants also reported improved job satisfaction and self-compassion.” Mindful USC

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. This is particularly acute in intensive care. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So, it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout in medical professionals in high stress areas.

 

In today’s Research News article “Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationships Between Perceived Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Among Chinese Intensive Care Nurses.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6482227/), Lu and colleagues recruited intensive care nurses and had them complete measures of burnout, mindfulness, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and subjective well-being. The measure of subjective well-being is a composite that includes a high level of satisfaction with life, more positive emotions, and fewer negative emotions.

 

They found that the higher the nurses’ levels of mindfulness the better the nurses’ mental health including lower levels of anxiety, depression, perceived stress, negative emotions and burnout and higher levels of subjective well-being, life satisfaction and positive emotions. They also found that the greater the levels of perceived stress the worse the nurses’ mental health including greater levels of burnout, negative emotions, anxiety, and depression, and lower levels of mindfulness, satisfaction with life, positive emotions, and life satisfaction. In addition, they found that mindfulness moderated the negative effects of perceived stress such that when mindfulness was high, perceived stress had a smaller relationship with emotional exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and negative affect and a larger relationship with positive affect.

 

In interpreting these results, it needs to be recognized that the study was correlational and as such causation cannot be determined. But previous research has already established that mindfulness produces reductions in burnout, anxiety, depression, perceived stress, and negative emotions and produces increases in life satisfaction, positive emotions, and subjective well-being. So, it is reasonable to conclude that the present findings were due to the causal effects of mindfulness. But the present findings add to this knowledge by showing that mindfulness not only directly improves the psychological state of the nurses but also acts to reduce the negative impact of stress.

 

These effects of mindfulness are important as burnout in high stress occupations like nursing is all too common. The results suggest that mindfulness training should be routinely administered to intensive care nurses to improve their well-being and mental health and reduce the likelihood that they will experience burnout.

 

So, improve the mental health on intensive care nurses with mindfulness.

 

Learning mindfulness also helped the ICU personnel to “become aware of what their individual stress response is” and to “practice flexibility in cultivating alternative ways” of dealing with chronic stress.” – Marianna Klatt

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lu, F., Xu, Y., Yu, Y., Peng, L., Wu, T., Wang, T., … Li, M. (2019). Moderating Effect of Mindfulness on the Relationships Between Perceived Stress and Mental Health Outcomes Among Chinese Intensive Care Nurses. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 260. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00260

 

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the potential moderating effect of mindfulness and its facets on the relationships among perceived stress and mental health outcomes (burnout, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being) among Chinese intensive care nurses. A total of 500 Chinese intensive care nurses completed self-report measures of mindfulness, burnout syndromes, perceived stress, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being. Correlation and hierarchical multiple regressions were applied for data analysis. Mindfulness moderated the effects of perceived stress on emotional exhaustion (the core component of burnout syndrome), depression, anxiety, positive affect, and negative affect but not on the other two dimensions of burnout and life satisfaction. Further analyses indicated that the ability to act with awareness was particularly crucial in improving the effects of perceived stress on depression. These results further broaden our understanding of the relationships between perceived stress and burnout, depression, anxiety, and subjective well-being by demonstrating that mindfulness may serve as a protective factor that alleviates or eliminates the negative effects of perceived stress on depression, anxiety, burnout syndrome, and subjective well-being and may instigate further research into targeted mindfulness interventions for Chinese intensive care nurses.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6482227/

 

Reduce Health Care Professional’s Burnout with Mindfulness

Reduce Health Care Professional’s Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness programs in the workplace may help employees better deal with stress, and develop the ability to observe negative emotions and automatic thought patterns and behaviors, and remain calm, present, self-aware and alert, rather than succumbing to the slippery slope of negative emotions.” – Grace Bullock

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Hence, burnout contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout. So it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to reduce burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Being Mindful: A Long-term Investigation of an Interdisciplinary Course in Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6328954/ ), Braun and colleagues recruited health care professionals and students and treated them with an 8-week, once a week for 2 hours, program of mindfulness training including meditation, yoga, and discussion, relevant to health care work. They were measured before and after treatment and follow-up occurring 6 months to 1.5 years later for burnout, including depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, and personal accomplishment subscales, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, and the nature of any continued practice.

 

They found that after training and at follow-up there were significant reductions in burnout including reduced depersonalization and emotional exhaustion. There were also significant improvements in mindfulness including the acting with awareness, non-judging, and non-reacting facets. In interviews with the participants afterwards they reported the “importance of integrating mindfulness into their lives using informal practices and noted the positive effects of mindfulness on their relationships with themselves, others, and patients.”

 

The fact that mindfulness training can effectively reduce burnout has been previously demonstrated by other researchers with a number of different types of professionals including health care workers. The importance of the present study is that it demonstrated that the effectiveness of the training endures for many months. The participants indicated that continued formal and informal practice was important. This suggests that training should include instruction on integrating mindfulness practice into daily life, and, if it is successful, the positive effects of mindfulness training can be maintained over the long term.

 

So, reduce health care professional’s burnout with mindfulness.

 

“We all have stresses and difficulties, both personally and professionally. While there are many ways of coping, mindfulness has been found to be a potential way for many to reduce anxiety, relieve depression and focus on the important tasks at hand.” – Jen Robertson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ellen Braun, S., Kinser, P., Carrico, C. K., & Dow, A. (2019). Being Mindful: A Long-term Investigation of an Interdisciplinary Course in Mindfulness. Global advances in health and medicine, 8, 2164956118820064. doi:10.1177/2164956118820064

 

Short abstract

Background

Burnout and work-related stress in health-care professionals (HCPs) is a growing concern to the optimal functioning of the health-care system. Mindfulness-based interventions may be well-suited to address burnout in HCPs.

Objective

The purpose of this study was (1) to quantitatively evaluate the effect of a mindfulness-based intervention for interdisciplinary HCPs over time and at a long-term follow-up and (2) to explore perceived benefits, facilitators, and barriers to the practice of mindfulness at the long-term follow-up.

Design

A mixed-method, repeated measures, within-subjects design was used to investigate Mindfulness for Interdisciplinary HCPs (MIHP) at baseline, post-MIHP, and a follow-up (6 months to 1.5 years after MIHP). MIHP is an 8-week, group-based course for interdisciplinary HCPs and students, with weekly meditation training, gentle yoga, and discussions on the application of mindfulness to common stressors faced by HCPs. Main outcome measures were the Maslach Burnout Inventory—Health Services Survey and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire. A semistructured interview was used to explore participants’ perceptions of sustained effects and practice in the context of HCP work at the long-term follow-up. The study protocol was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02736292).

Results

Eighteen HCPs (88% female) participated in the study. Significant reductions were found after the intervention for 2 subscales of burnout: depersonalization, F(2, 17) = 5.98, P = .01, and emotional exhaustion, F(2, 17) = 2.64, P = .10. Three facets of dispositional mindfulness showed significant increases at long-term follow-up, act aware: F(2, 15) = 4.47, P = .03, nonjudge: F(2, 15) = 4.7, P = .03, and nonreactivity: F(2, 15) = 3.58, P = .05. Continued practice of skills long term was facilitated by the use of informal practice and perceived improvement in work and personal life.

Conclusion

In sum, MIHP improved subscales of burnout and mindfulness. These findings should be further explored with a larger, controlled study. Interventions should focus on developing mindfulness practice that can be integrated into the work of HCPs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6328954/

 

Improve the Happiness of Healthcare Workers with Mindfulness

Improve the Happiness of Healthcare Workers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Thanks to the rapidly growing science of mindfulness, we are now understanding the seamless interconnectedness of brain, mind, body, experience, and well-being — to say nothing of the contributions to health and well-being that stem from social interconnectedness and environmental/planetary concerns.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout, in fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. Unfortunately, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep. Hence, mindfulness may be a means to improve the self-compassion and happiness of healthcare workers and thereby reduce burnout.

 

In today’s Research News article “Compassion, Mindfulness, and the Happiness of Healthcare Workers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5598781/ ), Benzo and colleagues recruited adult healthcare workers and had them complete measures of mindfulness, self-compassion, happiness, relationship status, exercise, perceived stress, and spiritual practice. The data underwent a regression analysis to determine the relationship between the measures.

 

They found that the higher the levels of exercise and self-compassion, the greater the levels of happiness and the lower the levels of perceived stress. In addition, they found that the higher the levels of coping with isolation and mindfulness the higher the levels of happiness. The association of mindfulness with happiness occurred for the mindfulness component of self-compassion and both the non-judgmental awareness and non-reactivity to emotions.

 

These results suggest that mindfulness and self-compassion are very important for the happiness of healthcare workers. The most important components of self-compassion appear to be mindfulness and the ability to cope with isolation that is a frequent occurrence with healthcare workers. Being mindfully aware of themselves, non-judgmentally appears to be crucial for happiness of workers this high stress occupation.

 

Although these results are correlational and causation cannot be determined, prior research has demonstrated that mindfulness training works to improve well-being and reduce burnout, reduce perceived stress, and also increases self-compassion. So, the present results likely reflect an underlying causal connection between mindfulness and the happiness of healthcare workers. This further suggests that mindfulness and self-compassion training should be included in the initial training or continuing education of healthcare workers.

 

So, improve the happiness of healthcare workers with mindfulness.

 

“There is increasing evidence that learning to practice mindfulness can result in decreased burnout and improved well-being. Mindfulness is a useful way of cultivating self-kindness and compassion, including by bringing increased awareness to and acceptance of those things that are beyond our control.” – Kate Fitzpatrick

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Benzo, R. P., Kirsch, J. L., & Nelson, C. (2017). Compassion, Mindfulness, and the Happiness of Healthcare Workers. Explore (New York, N.Y.), 13(3), 201-206.

 

Abstract

Context

Decreased well-being of health care workers expressed as stress and decreased job satisfaction influences patient safety and satisfaction and cost containment. Self-compassion has garnered recent attention due to its positive association with wellbeing and happiness. Discovering novel pathways to increase the well-being of health care workers is essential.

Objective

This study sought to explore the influence of self-compassion on employee happiness in health care professionals.

Design, Setting & Participants

400 participants (mean age 45 ± 14, 65% female) health care workers at a large teaching hospital were randomly asked to complete questionnaires assessing their levels of happiness and self-compassion, life conditions and habits.

Measures

Participants completed the Happiness Scale and Self-Compassion Scales, the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire as well as variables associated with wellbeing: relationship status, the number of hours spent exercising a week, attendance at a wellness facility and engagement in a regular spiritual practice.

Results

Self-compassion was significantly and independently associated with perceived happiness explaining 39% of its variance after adjusting for age, marital status, gender, time spent exercising and attendance to an exercise facility. Two specific subdomains of self-compassion from the instrument used, coping with isolation and mindfulness, accounted for 95% of the self-compassion effect on happiness.

Conclusion

Self-compassion is meaningfully and independently associated with happiness and well-being in health care professionals. Our results may have practical implications by providing specific self-compassion components to be targeted in future programs aimed at enhancing wellbeing in health care professionals.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5598781/

 

Sustain Attention, Vigilance, and Energy in Nurses with Mindfulness

Sustain Attention, Vigilance, and Energy in Nurses with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“As attention is rooted more firmly in the present and less on the past and/or future, depression, rumination, and anxiety decrease,” the article explains. “The resulting effect is energy that was once spent clinging to the past or worrying about the future can now be spent in the present.” Mindful nurse leaders are likewise aware of the employees and organizations behind their day-to-day work. They’re authentic. They connect with others. They stay in touch with their values.”

 

Medical professionals have to pay close and sustained attention to their jobs. The consequences of lapses and error can be catastrophic. Yet often their jobs are repetitive which can tax attention and reduce needed vigilance. Contemplative practices have been shown to improve attention and vigilance and to maintain high levels of performance on the job. In today’s Research News article “Positive Effects of Mindfulness-Based Training on Energy Maintenance and the EEG Correlates of Sustained Attention in a Cohort of Nurses.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5838011/ ), Wong and colleagues investigate the effectiveness of mindfulness training to improve attention and vigilance in nurses tested in a laboratory environment.

 

They recruited nurses and trained them in mindfulness with an 8-week, once a week for 90 minutes, program based upon the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, containing meditation, body scan, and yoga practices. Training attendance was monitored and recorded. They were measured before and after training with a 20-minute psychomotor task requiring sustained attention and vigilance. In addition, the nurses were measured for sleep duration for two nights. They also completed scales of energy and mood and had their brain activity monitored during rest and during meditation, and with an electroencephalogram (EEG). They also recorded the event related potentials (ERP) in the EEG evoked by stimulus presentation during the attention and vigilance task.

 

They found that following mindfulness training the nurses had significantly smaller reduction in energy during performance of the attention and vigilance task and the greater the attendance at the mindfulness training sessions, the greater the energy sustainment. This was also true for their attention and vigilance, with nurses with high training attendance having significantly smaller reductions in response speed and significantly smaller increases in attentional lapses over the 20-minute task duration. Hence, those nurses with high mindfulness training attendance sustained their energy and attention better over the task period.

 

With the electroencephalogram (EEG), they found that after mindfulness training there were significantly smaller reductions in alpha rhythm power during meditation, suggesting improved attention. These improvements were higher in nurses who attended training more regularly. Similar findings were present with the EEG event related potentials (ERP), such that P3 amplitude reductions were lower over the attention and vigilance task, indicating greater sustainment of arousal and attention. Hence, brain electrical activity also suggested greater sustainment of attention following mindfulness training.

 

The results are interesting and potentially important. They suggest that mindfulness training can improve nurses’ abilities to sustain attention and vigilance over a prolonged period. This was evidenced by both behavioral and EEG indicators of sustained attention and vigilance. This is potentially important as it may suggest that mindfulness training may improve performance on the job, reducing lapses and errors. Future research is needed to verify if, indeed, mindfulness training has similar effects on the job that it has in the laboratory.

 

So, sustain attention, vigilance, and energy in nurses with mindfulness.

 

“Burnout continues to be a significant occupational hazard in the nursing profession. Mindfulness may be the necessary approach to help combat nursing burnout, affording considerable promise for the future of the nursing profession.” – Pamela Heard

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wong, K. F., Teng, J., Chee, M. W. L., Doshi, K., & Lim, J. (2018). Positive Effects of Mindfulness-Based Training on Energy Maintenance and the EEG Correlates of Sustained Attention in a Cohort of Nurses. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12, 80. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2018.00080

 

Abstract

Mindfulness based training (MBT) is becoming increasingly popular as a means to improve general wellbeing through developing enhanced control over metacognitive processes. In this preliminary study, we tested a cohort of 36 nurses (mean age = 30.3, SD = 8.52; 2 male) who participated in an 8-week MBT intervention to examine the improvements in sustained attention and its energetic costs that may result from MBT. Changes in sustained attention were measured using the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) and electroencephalography (EEG) was collected both during PVT performance, and during a brief period of meditation. As there was substantial variability in training attendance, this variable was used a covariate in all analyses. Following the MBT program, we observed changes in alpha power across all scalp regions during meditation that were correlated with attendance. Similarly, PVT performance worsened over the 8-week period, but that this decline was mitigated by good attendance on the MBT program. The subjective energy depletion due to PVT performance (measured using self-report on Likert-type scales) was also less in regular attendees. Finally, changes in known EEG markers of attention during PVT performance (P300 and alpha-band event-related desynchronization) paralleled these behavioral shifts. Taken together, our data suggest that sustained attention and its associated costs may be negatively affected over time in the nursing profession, but that regular attendance of MBT may help to attenuate these effects. However, as this study contained no control condition, we cannot rule out that other factors (e.g., motivation, placebo effects) may also account for our findings.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5838011/

 

Relieve Medical Professional Burnout with Mindfulness

Relieve Medical Professional Burnout with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness programs in the workplace may help employees better deal with stress, and develop the ability to observe negative emotions and automatic thought patterns and behaviors, and remain calm, present, self-aware and alert, rather than succumbing to the slippery slope of negative emotions.” – Grace Bullock

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. It is estimated that over 45% of healthcare workers experience burnout. Currently, over a third of healthcare workers report that they are looking for a new job. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. It not only affects the healthcare providers personally, but also the patients, as it produces a loss of empathy and compassion. Burnout it is a threat to the healthcare providers and their patients. In fact, it is a threat to the entire healthcare system as it contributes to the shortage of doctors and nurses.

 

Preventing burnout has to be a priority. But, it is beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress and prevent burnout, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the individual’s responses to stress; to make the individual more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of heartfulness meditation on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in health care professionals.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463663/, Thimmapuram and colleagues recruited hospital medical residents, staff physicians and nurses and allowed them to choose to participate in a no-treatment control condition or receive once a week for 12 weeks of meditation training consisting of one weekly 30-minute training session and morning and evening home practice. They were measured before and after training for burnout and emotional wellness. They also supplied salivary samples that were assayed for the molecular genetic aging marker of telomere length.

 

Following the 12-week intervention the meditation group had significant improvements in burnout including decreases in emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and a significant increase in feelings of personal accomplishment. The meditation group also had significant increases in measures of emotional wellness. In addition, the younger meditation participants (< 35 years of age) had a significant increase in telomere length.

 

The results are interesting but the study has a number of methodological shortcomings that prevent clear conclusions. These include self-selection for conditions and a no-treatment control producing potential confounding from participant bias, placebo effects, attention effects, experimenter bias, etc. There is evidence, however, from a number of better controlled prior studies that indicate that meditation practice can significantly relieve the symptoms of burnout and increase telomere length.

 

So, relieve medical professional burnout with mindfulness.

 

“Dealing with sick, scared, suffering and dying patients is draining all by itself. Throw in distraction by negative emotions like worry, anger, frustration, righteous indignation … and you can easily double the energy drain. Mindfulness is incredibly valuable, because it brings the energy drain of non-supportive thoughts and feelings to a screeching halt.” – Dike Drummond

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Thimmapuram, J., Pargament, R., Sibliss, K., Grim, R., Risques, R., & Toorens, E. (2017). Effect of heartfulness meditation on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in health care professionals. Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, 7(1), 21–27. http://doi.org/10.1080/20009666.2016.1270806

 

ABSTRACT

Background: Burnout poses significant challenges during training years in residency and later in the career. Meditation is a tool to treat stress-related conditions and promote wellness. Telomere length may be affected by burnout and stress. However, the benefits of meditation have not been fully demonstrated in health care professionals.

Objective: We assessed the effects of a 12-week ‘Heartfulness Meditation’ program on burnout, emotional wellness, and telomere length in residents, faculty members, and nurses at a large community teaching hospital during the 2015–16 academic year.

Methods: All subjects completed a baseline Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and Emotional Wellness Assessment (EWA) at the beginning of the study. Meditators received instructions in Heartfulness Meditation. At week 12, subjects completed a follow up MBI and EWA scores. Salivary telomere length was measured at baseline and week 12.

Results: Twenty-seven out of a total 155 residents (17.4%) along with eight faculty physicians and 12 nurses participated in the study. Thirty-five enrolled as meditators and 12 as controls. At 12 weeks, the meditators had statistically significant improvement in all measures of burnout and in nearly all attributes of EWA. Controls showed no statistically significant changes in either burnout or emotional wellness scores. Relative telomere length increased with statistical significance in a younger subset of meditators.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that meditation offers an accessible and efficient method by which physician and nurse burnout can be ameliorated and wellness can be enhanced. The increased telomere length is an interesting finding but needs to be confirmed with further research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463663/