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Enhancing the resilience of nurses and midwives: pilot of a mindfulness-based program for increased health, sense of coherence and decreased depression, anxiety and stress

Maralyn Foureur, Karyn Besley, Geraldine Burton, Nickolas Yu, Jackie Crisp
Contemporary Nurse 2013, 45 (1): 114-25
24099232
Health workers in general, and midwives and nurses in particular, experience high levels of stress/distress due to the nature of their work and workplaces; and, their socialization into ways of working that minimizes the likelihood of self-care. Increasing interest in the development of resilient workers has meant an enormous growth in interest in the role of holistic practices such as mindfulness meditation. Kabat-Zinn's mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is one of the most commonly used by those seeking to practise, theorize or research mindfulness across multiple contexts. The primary aim of this study was to pilot the effectiveness of an adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention on the psychological wellbeing of nurses and midwives. More specifically, we sought to test the acceptability and feasibility of a modified MBSR intervention to inform a future randomized controlled trial (RCT). The pilot study used a pre and post intervention design. Twenty midwives and 20 nurses participated in a one-day workshop, undertook to meditate daily for 8 weeks and completed pre and post intervention measures: general health questionnaire (GHQ-12); sense of coherence (SOC) - orientation to life and the depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS). A subgroup took part in interviews or focus group discussions of their experiences of the program and their ongoing mindfulness practice. The quantitative findings included significant improvements on the GHQ-12, SOC and the stress subscale of the DASS. Qualitative findings support the acceptability of the intervention, and highlighted a number of issues related to feasibility of any future RCT. In conclusion, mindfulness practice holds promise for increasing individual and workplace resilience, however, meaningful research evidence from carefully constructed studies will be required to engage and motivate participation and organizational support.

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