Burnout is defined as a “prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job leading to a combination of physical and emotional exhaustion” (Lachman, 2016). The effects of burnout syndrome among nurses are well documented in the literature. Burnout is associated with an increased incidence of a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, including weight loss or gain, lethargy, headaches, sleep issues, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating (Lachman, 2016). As a result of these symptoms, nurses experiencing burnout are more prone to provide poorer quality care to patients and are at heightened risk of commission of errors in practice. In 2016, the Critical Care Societies Collaborative published a call to action for members of the healthcare community regarding burnout and compassion fatigue (Moss, Good, Gozal, Kleinpell, & Sessler, 2016). In this statement, they revealed that at least 25 to 33% of nurses working in critical care display symptoms associated with burnout. This statistic is alarming and certainly calls for intervention. Nurses working in oncology, pediatrics, and critical care settings are at the highest risk for experiencing burnout due to high acuity, the great burden of need from patients in these areas, uncertainty of patient outcomes, and the impact of repeatedly bearing witness to suffering (Rushton, Batcheller, Schroeder, & Donohue, 2015).
The literature supports that mindfulness-based stress reduction practices are effective methods of health promotion and reduction of stress and burnout among nurses. Those practicing mindfulness have reported improved ability to concentrate, increased attention, higher self-reported resilience, and overall improved wellbeing (Noble, Reid, Walsh, Ellison, & McVeigh, 2019). Furthermore, a study by Bong (2019) detailed the implementation of a “mindfulness bundle,” which showed positive results in decreasing rates of burnout among those participating in the bundle.
This alarming data makes it clear that identification, prevention, and mitigation of burnout among nurses working in pediatric critical care ought to be a high priority. In response to this, a mindfulness bundle was implemented in a small pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to determine the impact on self-reported symptoms of burnout among the nurses working in the unit. The mindfulness bundle provides pediatric critical care nurses with printed information on mindfulness, as well as resources for local counseling services, encouragement cards, and lavender sachets to promote a sense of calm. The results of the post-implementation survey as compared to the pre-implementation survey supports the use of a mindfulness bundle to mitigate burnout among PICU nurses.
Date of publication
MSN Capstone Project
McGaughy, Katelyn O., "Mitigating Burnout in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit" (2020). MSN Capstone Projects. Paper 10.