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Transcendental meditation can reduce nurse burnout, study says

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According to a recent study published in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, transcendental meditation is effective at reducing burnout and enhancing the overall well-being of nurses. The study is a response to increasing levels of burnout within the heath care industry, largely exacerbated by the pandemic.

According to another recent study, by market research and consulting company PRC, 15.6% of U.S. nurses surveyed reported feeling burnout.

The American Nurses Foundation also recently released findings from a survey that revealed burnout and workplace violence remain key issues for nurses nationwide. A total 64% of the 12,581 nurses surveyed said they experienced stress at work within the past two weeks. Another 60% said they were frustrated at work, while 57% said they felt exhausted from work.

The recent single-arm study published in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing investigated the feasibility of transcendental meditation — “a specific meditation-based mind-body program that allows the practitioner to experience progressively quieter, less excited states of mental activity” — for reducing burnout and improving the emotional well-being of 32 health care professionals that cared for COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.

The participants included 23 registered nurses, five respiratory therapists and four advanced practice providers.

“The results of this single-arm study demonstrate that healthcare clinicians who learned and practiced TM showed decreased symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety, and improved mental well-being,” according to the study.

“These improvements in burnout and well-being were seen at one-month after the initial TM instruction and were maintained through the three-month follow-up period. These findings support similar studies which have demonstrated the positive impact of TM on burnout and perceived stress in teachers (Elder et al., 2014), the reduction of compassion fatigue and increase in resilience in nurses (Bonamer & Aquino-Russell, 2019), and reductions in burnout, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and stress in emergency department clinicians (Azizoddin et al., 2021).”

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