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Addressing Burnout in the Primary Care Setting: The Impact of an Evidence-Based Mindfulness Toolkit

Mil Med. 2023 Nov 10;189(Supplement_1):64-70. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usad277.


BACKGROUND: Burnout is insidious and manifests over prolonged, repeated exposure to occupational stressors. There is a growing crisis among health care workers (HCWs) due to high levels of burnout and associated adverse outcomes. Identifying and addressing burnout can be problematic due to extensive variances of perceived occupational stressors across HCWs.

PURPOSE: Mindfulness-based training can enhance individual HCWs’ abilities to perceive and constructively respond to stresses endemic in the health care environment. It can reduce the prevalence of burnout in the primary care setting. An evidence-based multimodal Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction toolkit (MBSR TK) was designed, implemented, and evaluated for its impact on HCWs’ self-reported stress levels (SRSL).

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES: A pre-post-program evaluation explored the impact of a multimodal toolkit program on HCW SRSL with the Mini-Z burnout survey (MZBS). The MBSR TK program, consisting of a 45 minute introduction and 4 biweekly 15 minute mindfulness sessions offering acupressure, meditation, journaling for gratitude, and self-compassion was designed, delivered, and evaluated with HCWs across 2 military primary care clinics in South Texas.

RESULTS: All HCWs across 2 Air Force family practice clinics were invited to participate in all toolkit components. Seventy percent of all HCWs (N = 90) attended the introduction session. Thirty-seven (41%) HCWs completed pre and post MZBSs, and these responses are included in the data analysis section. The most represented HCWs were registered nurses, physician assistants, and technicians, respectively, at 24%, 21%, and 18%. The Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test examined changes in HCWs’ SRSL after participation in the MBSR TK program. HCWs who attended the introduction plus one biweekly session showed statistically significant decreases in self-reported stress (P = 0.018) and burnout (P = 0.045) and a significant increase in electronic health record proficiency (P = 0.033).

CONCLUSIONS: Multimodal mindfulness toolkits to address SRSL burnout are practical, accessible, easily implemented, adaptive to any environment, and can decrease burnout with participation with just one 15 minute session. This MBSR TK implementation effectively lowered self-reported stress in HCWs who are repeatedly challenged to adapt to various settings around the world during peacetime, wars, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, and now, pandemics.

PMID:37956332 | DOI:10.1093/milmed/usad277

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