Can Mindfulness Help Nurses?

Being a nurse isn't easy.

One recent article stated the challenges in stark terms:

  • Long work hours
  • Exposure to suffering
  • Staffing shortages
  • Increasingly complex patients
  • Corporate financial constraints
  • Constant adaptation to new technology

It's no surprise, then, that nurses suffer from burnout, depression, reduced job satisfaction, psychological distress, and disruptions in personal relationships. 

Here's a few stats for you:

  • Increasing a nurse's case load by just one patient increased burnout by 23% in one study.
  • In another study, one in every five nurses showed depressive symptoms. That's more than double the rate in the general population.

So what's the answer?

Well, one recent systematic review makes a pretty good argument for mindfulness. 

Basing on their reading of the hundreds of studies that have now been published on the effects of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, the authors call for a well controlled study of the treatment's effects on nurses.

This follows a number of pilot that studies that have been published since 2005. Now we're all just waiting for the gold standard: a randomized clinical trial, with an active control, to prove what many of us already believe:

Mindfulness could probably help nurses quite a bit.  

For information about upcoming mindfulness workshops with Devon & me, please click here.

Craig Hase