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Jullia Ann Rosdahl, Karen Kingsolver; Mindfulness Training to Increase Resilience and Decrease Stress and Burnout in Ophthalmology Residents: a Pilot Study. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5579.
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Our hypothesis is that Mindfulness practice would decrease the stress and burnout in resident physicians. This pilot study was done to test this hypothesis in Ophthalmology residents and to inform the design of a larger study including residents in other specialties at our institution.
Ophthalmology residents completed an optional and anonymous web-based survey before and after a Mindfulness-based session, planned during a period thought to be stressful for the residents. The web-based survey included 3 validated survey instruments of stress and burnout: the Depression-Anxiety-Stress Scale (DASS-21), the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (including Disengagement and Exhaustion subscales), and 10 questions from the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire. The Mindfulness-based session consisted of a 3-hour class introducing the concepts of Mindful Awareness, with practical exercises for nurturing resilience. The web-based survey was completed 1 week prior to the session, and 4-6 weeks after the session.
Sixty-six percent of the residents completed the initial survey (12 of 18 residents). 62% of the residents who participated in the Mindfulness-based session completed both the initial survey and the follow-up survey (5 of 8 residents). Baseline Stress scores and baseline Burnout Disengagement subscale scores were within the normal range; however, the residents had more symptoms of Exhaustion on the Burnout subscale (8 of 12 residents with scores > 2.25). Of the residents who completed the before and after surveys, 4 of 5 showed improvements in Stress and Burnout metrics.
After a single Mindfulness-based session, Ophthalmology residents showed improvements in Stress and Burnout. Recommendations from the pilot study have been included in the on-going larger study, including shorter sessions (two 1-hour sessions instead of a single long session) and the use of paper-based surveys with protected time for completion to aid in study participation. Results from this pilot study support the use of Mindfulness-based techniques for decreasing stress and burnout as well as enhancing resilience in physicians.
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