Healthcare providers often face significant work-related stress, and the rates of burnout among healthcare workers have been on the rise in recent years. Though much research corroborates the high prevalence of stress amongst this demographic, little headway has occurred with respect to developing and deploying effective measures to combat this stress.
Recent research has revealed that mindfulness-based interventions can significantly reduce stress amongst physicians and other healthcare workers. However, because these types of programs are often time consuming, their uptake has been limited. Healthcare professionals indeed tend to be quite busy without an abundance of extra time for self-care.
A new study, the results of which are published in JAMA Network Open, point to the potential for a brief mindfulness intervention, which may be capable of lowering stress in the context of healthcare. The study – a randomized clinical trial – included 78 participants and as conducted between September 2017 and May 2018. The age of participants ranged from 23 to 48 years, and 83% of the participants were women.
While 43 participants completed a 5-session mindfulness program that totaled only 7.5 hours, the remaining 35 served as controls and did not complete the program. The result of the study showed that compared to the controls who continued their lives as usual, the healthcare workers who underwent the brief mindfulness intervention reported lowered levels of both stress and anxiety.
These new data highlight the potential for mindfulness programs to help alleviate the problematic stress faced by physician healthcare workers and the feasibility of developing practical programs that can fit into healthcare workers’ schedules. More research will likely help to optimize aspects of mindfulness practices so that they can be used as successful and cost-effective means for helping healthcare workers improve the quality of their lives.
Ameli, R. et al. (2020). Effect of a brief mindfulness-based program on stress in health care professionals at a US biomedical research hospital. JAMA Network Open, 3(8), e2013424