Within the health care industry and beyond, daily exposure to stress can lead to negative consequences for employees both on and off the job -- from apathy and burnout to physical illness or mental impairments. New Open Access research published in Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health suggests the implementation of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program can reduce employee stress and burnout.
"MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in 1979 in an effort to teach patients with chronic medical conditions how to lead fuller and healthier lives," wrote the researchers. "Mindfulness is defined as a self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind through focusing on present-moment awareness."
In the study, a sample of 41 female nurses from a large healthcare company participated in an 8 week scheduled course of guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices, facilitated group discussion, stretching and yoga, work and home assignments, and individually tailored instruction and support. Overall health and well-being of the nurses was surveyed at three points: 2 weeks prior to research, immediately following the program, and 4 months following the program. Results showed statistical improvement in both overall health and wellness of the nurses at each point of intervention.
The researchers do acknowledge the limitation of a non-random sample and inclusion of only one profession; however the results are indicative that a MBSR approach can aid in reducing overall stress sustained at work across professions.
"This is a universal practice and can be utilized by a variety of clinical and non-clinical populations as well as by a variety of professions," according to lead researcher Dawn Bazarko, Senior Vice President of the Center for Nursing Advancement at UnitedHealth Group. "Health care workers present as a primary target audience due to the nature of their work and the impact that mindfulness can have on patient care and the creation of safer, higher-quality care environments. However, the practice is ideal for anyone from front line call center agents to busy executives."
- Dawn Bazarko, Rebecca A. Cate, Francisca Azocar, Mary Jo Kreitzer. The Impact of an Innovative Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program on the Health and Well-Being of Nurses Employed in a Corporate Setting. Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, 2013; 28 (2): 107 DOI: 10.1080/15555240.2013.779518
Cite This Page: