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Abstract for 2019 Seattle Nursing Research Conference

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

Applying Mindfulness Training as a Toolkit for Moral Distress; A Nursing Education Intervention

Wood, D., Hutchinson, M., Gyarmati, D. VA Puget Sound Health Care system, Seattle WA

Purpose: To educate and empower Registered Nurses working in hospitals by developing a deeper understanding of mindfulness to be utilized as a tool for skillful awareness at the bedside.

Background/Significance: The emotional stress associated with caring for seriously ill patients and their families has been shown to lead to profound suffering, burnout, decreased satisfaction, disrupted personal relationships and moral distress. Evidence supporting the medical benefits of mindfulness has been widely documented and continues to grow in quality and quantity. Health care professionals who practice mindfulness have been shown to be more effective at motivating patients and are less susceptible to the effects of burnout. Currently there is a lack of evidence-based curriculum targeting bedside nursing to help mitigate burnout through resiliency training.

Proposed Change in Practice: For mindfulness training to be effective in alleviating stress, burnout, and compassion fatigue it needs to be experienced and practiced as described by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Bringing resiliency training into the hospital environment not only provides nurses access to mindfulness teaching it fosters a forum of support and mentorship where participants can learn collaboratively while applying evidence-based solutions for enhanced awareness.

Implementing Strategies: Spira Mindful Wellness through the M3b ™ method created a lecture series to serve as an educational intervention for nurses on topics of mindfulness techniques, bedside case example discussion, medical ethics, moral distress and resiliency teaching. Participants in the 4-hour lectures series included 44 MICU/CCU nurses at the Seattle VA during the fall 2018.

Evaluation: Based on voluntary survey results, over 90% of attendees indicated mindfulness training as beneficial tool to being an effective nurse with improved recognition of burnout signs as well as improved emotional awareness knowledge.

Conclusions: Currently there is a lack of structured curriculum specifically targeting the issues bedside nurses face to assist with moral distress through mindfulness teaching. Through dynamic lecture and the M3b methodology™, participants were able to recognize the signs of burnout and the steps necessary to help combat moral distress through skillful awareness and resiliency practices. It is becoming increasingly clear that mindfulness is an important component to burnout prevention had has an important impact on healthy work environments. However, more research is needed especially in a multidisciplinary setting.



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