Posts Tagged ‘burnout’

Transcendental Meditation Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses

February 27, 2019

Nurses can better cope with the burnout that’s endemic to the profession by practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique, according to a new study published today in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development. After four months of practice, standardized assessments found that nurses in the study had reductions in “compassion fatigue” and burnout, and increases in compassion satisfaction and resilience. The study highlights the importance that self-care plays for professional development and longevity in nursing. (EurekAlert!) (PubMed)

TM Outcomes for Nurses-Reduced Compassion Fatigue and Increased Resilience

After 4 months of practicing Transcendental Meditation, a group of 27 nurses experienced an 18% reduction in burnout (“compassion fatigue”), a 16.9% increase in resilience, and a 9.2% increase in compassion satisfaction.

Research suggests that self-care for nurses is important for professional development

The Transcendental Meditation technique helped to reduce “compassion fatigue” and burnout in a group of 27 nurses while also improving resilience according to a study published today in Journal for Nurses in Professional Development (Mar/Apr 2019, Vol 35, Issue 2).

Jen Bonamer, PhD, RN-BC, NPD (cropped)

Jennifer Bonamer

Standardized assessments showed a significant improvement after four months of practice.

“For years I watched nurses struggle to care for their patients and themselves,” said lead author Jennifer Bonamer, PhD, RN-BC, AHN-BC, Nursing Professional Development Specialist at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Florida. “Working with people who are suffering trauma eventually takes a toll and produces what’s come to be called ‘compassion fatigue.'”

Study included mostly Registered Nurses

Dr. Bonamer searched the literature for self-care methods that could help nurses cope with burnout and hypothesized that Transcendental Meditation would help relieve compassion fatigue in nurses and improve their ability to bounce back from the challenges of work.

Most of the 27 nurses in the study were Registered Nurses working directly with patients. They had been working as nurses 15.7 mean years, and in their current practice area for an average of 6.5 years.

Standardized assessments quantify benefits

The researchers used the Professional Quality of Life Scale, which includes a 30-item survey that measures compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue on a 5-point scale. After four months of practicing Transcendental Meditation, the nurses experienced a 9.2% increase in compassion satisfaction and 18% reduction in burnout.

Resilience was measured via the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, a 25-item survey with statements that reflect resilient perspectives. It also uses a 5-point scale. Again, after four months of Transcendental Meditation, the nurses experienced a 16.9% increase in resilience.

“These surveys are widely used with demonstrated validity and reliability,” Dr. Bonamer said. “They demonstrated quantitatively what the nurses reported: they felt better and enjoyed their work more.”

Increasing importance of self-care techniques in nursing

There is an increasing trend toward appreciating the necessity of helping nurses in their careers by taking active steps to use self-care techniques to build resilience.

“We need to invest in our nursing staff and ensure that they have rewarding careers while also providing the best possible care for their patients,” Dr. Bonamer said. “The Transcendental Meditation technique is one step that we could take. A variety of studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing stress and promoting health and well-being.”

RNs practice TM for self-care at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

RNs practice TM for self-care at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

The nurses learned Transcendental Meditation from two certified teachers over a four-day period. They then practiced it for 20 minutes twice a day, though their demanding schedules sometimes made it challenging to fit it in. The technique is typically practiced once in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. In this video, Nourishing the Caregiver from Within, nurses describe the benefits they are receiving from the TM Program.

Previous qualitative study also found a benefit

The present study is the second of two that have used the Transcendental Meditation technique as a modality to improve the well-being of nurses. A study published in 2018 in International Journal for Human Caring reported the experience of RNs in graduate school who practiced Transcendental Meditation for four months. The qualitative study entailed the students keeping a journal and then the researchers used Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological method to examine their journals.

The results showed that graduate students were more present and balanced, and experienced enhanced job performance. They also enjoyed greater feelings of bliss, peace, and integrity.

About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is easily learned, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. It doesn’t involve concentration, control of the mind, contemplation, or monitoring of thoughts or breathing. The practice allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of inner calm. For more information visit www.tm-women.org/nurses.

Study: Self-Care Strategies for Professional Development: Transcendental Meditation®; Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses, Jennifer (Rheingans) Bonamer, PhD; Catherine Aquino-Russell, PhD. DOI: 10.1097/NND.0000000000000522

Photo credits: Jennifer Bonamer—Sarasota Memorial Health Care System; meditating nurses and graph—Transcendental Meditation for Women.

Locally, The Fairfield Weekly Reader published an article on the study: Transcendental Meditation reduces compassion fatigue and improves resilience.  The Iowa Source published an article by Amy Ruff, RN, National Director of Transcendental Meditation for Nurses: Helping the Helpers: Reducing Burnout Among Nurses. MUM’s The Review reported: Study Shows Benefit for Nurses.

Alliance for PTSD Recovery interviewed Amy Ruff, Director of Transcendental Meditation for Nurses. She discusses the challenges of nurse burnout and traumatic stress and the need for greater resilience.

Linda Egenes wrote Nurses Need Nourishing Too: New Research Shows TM Reduces Compassion Fatigue.

Western New York Physician: Rochester & Buffalo Issue Vol 2, 2018 published an article (pages 15 & 16) by Amy Ruff, RN BSN: New Study: Transcendental Meditation Reduces Compassion Fatigue and Improves Resilience for Nurses. Here’s a PDF of the article.

Podcast: Kathy’s Corner: TM for Nurses – Interview with Amy Ruff, RN | May 2019. Kathy and Amy discuss the value of caring for the caregivers.

Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 16, 2018

In the spirit of “Physician, heal thyself,” Catholic Health World reported on Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an elective course to students during the past 4 years to help them avoid burnout and develop wellness, preparing them to become more effective physicians. The Uncarved Blog originally helped break the news of the early success of this program. Here is a PDF of the Catholic Health World article.

Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 15, 2018 (Volume 34, Number 18)
By Patricia Corrigan

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is believed to be the first major medical school in the country to offer Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as an elective course. Since 2014, the class has been offered to help medical students manage stress.

“A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians,” said Dr. Gregory Gruener, vice dean for education and a neurology professor at Stritch.

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Gruener

In addition to learning the meditation technique, the class reviews the neurophysiology of TM and includes a live demonstration of the brain wave patterns that occur during the practice. Students may attend five lectures over two semesters or view the lectures online. Stritch has even set aside meditation rooms for students.

Gruener counts the TM training as a success. “We don’t push it — it’s one technique — but a significant chunk of the students, about a third of each class, sign up for it, and almost 300 have enrolled since it started.” This year, 66 of the 165 first-year students have signed up so far, and Gruener expects another 10 to 20 to enroll.

Most students who have taken the class have reported the training has “a significant and fundamental impact” on their lives, Gruener said. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery, is one of them.

“Going to medical school — well, that’s not a path to stress relief,” said Terrell. She first took the TM class three years ago and still meditates. “Right after the first meditation class, I instantly felt so much better. The initial benefits are still present, and TM is a great tool to have in my pocket for those days when I am overwhelmed.”

TM uses meditation skills similar to those found in the Catholic, Jesuit traditions of contemplative care. Deans in the admissions offices, the counseling faculty and the clinical physician supervisors at Stritch would agree. They also have learned the meditation technique, which was first taught in India in 1955 and introduced in the U.S. in 1959. An article about the TM class, published in Chicago Medicine magazine in January 2016, is now made available to all students who apply to Stritch.

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Brown

“Two students told us they chose Loyola because of the TM elective,” said Carla L. Brown, who teaches the course at Stritch. She co-directs the Center for Leadership Performance in Chicago with her husband, Duncan Brown, who also teaches TM at Stritch on an adjunct basis.

“TM changes the brain — that has been documented scientifically,” Carla Brown said. “It taps into our innate capacity to experience restful alertness, and that refines the functioning of our physiology.” The website for the meditation method notes that some 380 published, peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM “markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, improves learning ability and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.”

The medical school is keeping track of whether former students still practice TM. “We haven’t received all the information yet, but even those that are meditating once a day now say they do still notice a benefit,” Gruener said. “Our real concern is how they do away from the support system that was in place for them here, and we will continue to keep in touch.”

Also, as part of a student’s PhD thesis, some faculty members have had MRI scans before and after meditating to determine whether there are changes in the brain that have to do with “anxiety or stress or emotionality.” The study is complete, but Gruener said the data from the thesis is not yet available.

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Dr. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery at Louisiana State University — Shreveport, practices stress-busting meditation techniques she learned as a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The TM class includes outside speakers, among them retired Col. Brian Rees, a physician who talks about the use of meditation in his work with individuals in the military related to building resiliency and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Students in medical school want to know about the science supporting TM, and they want to meet physicians who research and also practice it,” Gruener said.

The decision to add the meditation technique to the curriculum was serendipitous. “As we were trying to build a broader menu into our wellness program, we heard from a former medical student who had dropped out of school because of anxiety,” Gruener said. “He saw a billboard advertising TM, took the class and found it had a dramatic impact on his life — and he provided the money to begin a pilot program here.”

That program commenced in the fall of 2013. Later, it was modified and the decision was made to offer the course as an elective, with a more flexible schedule. Gruener noted that one reason some students do not enroll is because of the time required to take the five classes and the need to find 20 minutes twice a day to meditate.

“Some students view that as time taken away from studying, even though we try to let them know that if you take care of yourself now, there is a big payback later,” Gruener said. Laughing, he added, “Also, physicians tend to be hardheaded if something isn’t in pill form or can’t be injected. Carla and I have joked that if we had a pill to relieve stress that cost $1,000, all the students would want to take it.”

Gruener said he practices TM, and he openly credits it with reducing his own stress. “You have to embrace wellness and you have to find the time to take control of your own life,” he said. “Once you begin TM, that gets easier.”

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Permission granted by Catholic Health World, October 15, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
I added all hyperlinks except the SSOM-LUC in the opening sentence.
Article URL: https://www.chausa.org/publications/catholic-health-world/archives/issues/october-15-2018/medical-students-learn-meditation-to-counter-stress-promote-physician-wellness

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