Date of Award
College of Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Mary Anne C. Murray
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and compounded a burnout crisis among the healthcare workforce. Healthcare professionals are experiencing workplace stress and professional burnout in substantial numbers, which has resulted in multiple negative consequences including decreased productivity, poor staff retention, and increased organizational costs. While effective multi-pronged approaches to address stress and burnout among healthcare professionals account for the problem at all levels from individual to organizational, a growing evidence base supports the implementation of mindfulness-based interventions as one strategy to reduce stress and burnout and build resiliency.
Objectives: The purpose of this DNP project was to design and pilot a quality improvement project of a mindfulness-based intervention to reduce stress and burnout among inpatient psychiatric clinical staff at a large, urban, academic medical center. This project had four objectives: 1) implement a brief mindfulness-based intervention that fits seamlessly within the current workflow structures in the medical center's inpatient psychiatric units; 2) evaluate the intervention's effectiveness in reducing symptoms of stress and burnout; 3) assess the viability of the intervention’s design and acceptance by clinical staff; and 4) provide recommendations for its sustainability as an ongoing program for the medical center's clinical staff.
Methods: This project used a mixed methods design utilizing quantitative and qualitative data to reach its objectives. The mindfulness pilot program involved ten 12-minute audio sessions combining evidence-based didactic material and meditation practice. The sessions were administered free of charge to participants via a smartphone-based meditation app online and completed independently before or during work shifts at times chosen by participants. Pre- and post-intervention surveys utilized the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) in addition to several Likert-scale survey questions, open-ended questions, and optional semi-structured interviews with which to collect insights from participants about both the variable being measured (stress and burnout) and the intervention used (mindfulness for healthcare professionals).
Discussion: A small sample size limited the ability to determine effectiveness and feasibility. Post-intervention evaluative feedback indicated that participants experienced a reduction in stress but also had difficulty completing all ten sessions. Results and participant feedback both suggested that addressing systemic causes of burnout can improve participation and buy-in for individual-based interventions like the one in this project.
Implications for Practice: Results from this project can help determine the extent to which a mindfulness program for clinical staff at a large urban hospital can provide a viable intervention to reduce stress and burnout, improve staff retention rates, and increase workplace satisfaction. Recommendations provided as a result of the project's quantitative and qualitative data analysis offer ways to improve and refine future applications of mindfulness-based programs for healthcare professionals.
Brusser, Daniel, "Mindfulness for Inpatient Psychiatric Clinical Staff: Designing and Evaluating a Pilot Intervention to Reduce Stress and Burnout" (2022). Doctor of Nursing Practice Projects. 64.