Week 4: Article Appraisal
Title: Reducing stress and burnout in the public-sector work environment: A mindfulness meditation pilot study
The study purposed to investigate the feasibility of the tailored mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention in the Australian public sector and examine the impact of MBSR on stress and burnout among various individuals with various roles. The findings from this study will be used to advance the existing knowledge about MBSR. In addition, various research questions were developed to help meet the research objectives.
The first question explored the possibility of stress and burnout while using the tailored MBSR program among the intervention group. The second question analyzed the subjective experience of participants to identify what arose as the outcome and the significance and meaning of outcomes.
Research Design and Data Collection.
This study used mixed methods, single-group, pre-/post-test design. Both qualitative and quantitative studies were included. The quantitative components required participants to complete two validated measures that measured the level of burnout: the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10).
The PSS-10 comprises 10 questions evaluating the thoughts and feelings of participants, while MBI helps in determining the risk of burnout in the workplace using 22 questions divided into three sections (Vella & McIver, 2019). The data from these measures were collected by the researchers using a paper survey at the beginning of the session as well as after the final session.
On the other hand, the qualitative study employed the use of medication logs and the Most Significant Change (MCS) Model. Their data was collected using a paper survey at the end of the final session. Using the MCS, participants were asked to state the most significant and meaningful changes they have noticed since joining the program. They were also allowed to make any suggestions regarding the program. The data were grouped thematically and then subjected to interrater reliability for checking consistency and augmenting rigor.
The participants for the study were recruited through information sent via emails by the health and wellbeing team. Individuals performing various roles in the organization were targeted for the study. The researchers then met the participants to brief them about the literature on MBSR and the format of the sessions they will undertake. The program started with 82 participants in the first session; 65signed up for the program; 2 withdrew, 2 left the organization, and 15 did not complete sessions. Generally, 42 individuals completed the program and whose data was analyzed for the final results of the study.
Summary of Findings
This study provided some significant results that support the use of mindfulness-based reduction (MBSR) in managing stress and reduction of burnout among professionals, especially nurses. Results were obtained from both the qualitative and quantitative studies. To begin with the quantitative study, perceived stress and burnout were significantly reduced among participants in the post-intervention period compared to pre-intervention.
The perceived stress scale (PSS) used to measure stress reported decreased stress in the post-intervention period(Vella & McIver, 2019). On the other hand, a significant reduction in the burnout level as evidenced by the increased feeling of personal accomplishment and decreased depersonalization.
This data emphasized the effectiveness of MBSR in reducing burnout; similar results were reported in previous studies by Portero de la Cruz et al. (2020), in which MBSR was shown to be effective in improving a positive state of mind, as well as reducing ruminations and distraction. Notably, reduced emotional exhaustion and stress among nurses comes with various benefits, including increased motivation, personal achievement, and reduction in cynicism. Fortunately, greater positive changes are achieved by implementing appropriate stress management techniques.
Considering the qualitative data, the results complemented the quantitative findings. The participants reported changes in various parameters. First, there was increased recognition of stress triggers achieved through self-observation and awareness of the present moments that impacted stress management. In addition, participants developed skills to detach themselves from the stressors and hence become calmer.
Furthermore, participants had increased ability to make choices, prioritize work, and acceptance of self and others, as evidenced by improved communication and corporation. According to Sullivan et al. (2022), implementing MBSR in the workplace can improve stress management among nurses, leading to increased motivation, communication, self-awareness, and personal accomplishment that will ultimately enhance the level of care provided and better patient outcomes.
Strengths, Limitations, and Recommendations.
The results obtained from this study were subject to good methodology and coordination by researchers. To begin with, compliance with the program was reported at 65%, unlike most studies that barely hit the 50% mark. Increased compliance was attributed to various factors.
First, the program was flexible to allow participants to attend regularly. There was an option for the participant to attend an alternative session weekly, with each session lasting 45 minutes. This meant that others could attend the session over lunch break without having to miss to attend to their duties. Sessions were also conducted at the same place, making it easier for participants to attend. In addition, the selection of individuals with various roles allowed for diversity in experience, hence representing a larger population.
On the other hand, some limitations were reported in this study. First, the study design did not include a waitlist comparison or plan for follow-up of participants, given the exploratory nature of the study. Secondly, analysis was not conducted on individuals who did not complete the study.
In addition, there was a self-selection bias that might have affected the validity of the respondents. Finally, following the limitations experienced in this study, the researchers made recommendations for future studies, including; the inclusion of a more complex study design that would allow for the inclusion of a waitlist and follow-up of participants and the inclusion of larger sample size in future studies.
Sullivan, V., Hughes, V., & Wilson, D. R. (2022). Nursing burnout and its impact on health. The Nursing Clinics of North America, 57(1), 153–169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cnur.2021.11.011
Vella, E., & McIver, S. (2019). Reducing stress and burnout in the public-sector work environment: A mindfulness meditation pilot study. Health Promotion Journal of Australia: Official Journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals, 30(2), 219–227. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.192
Portero de la Cruz, S., Cebrino, J., Herruzo, J., & Vaquero-Abellán, M. (2020). A multicenter study into burnout, perceived stress, job satisfaction, coping strategies, and general health among emergency department nursing staff. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(4), 1007. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9041007