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Meditation in the workplace may help reduce nurse stress


Providing nurses and other staff with yoga and meditation in the workplace could reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality, suggest US researchers.

They piloted a six-week stress reduction programme, which was designed for office workers to fit into break times so as not to impose on either work or home time.

The study involved 48 subjects, half of whom attended one-hour weekly yoga and discussion sessions during their lunch break, as well as meditating for 20 minutes per day at their desks. The remainder acted as controls.

On average intervention participants’ stress levels had decreased by 11% at the end of the programme and time taken to fall asleep and sleep disturbances were also reduced, compared with controls, the authors said in the journal Health Education & Behaviour.

The new programme was adapted from an existing theory called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which is intended to help people attain a heightened awareness of factors that cause them stress. The original MBSR programme was designed in 1979 for hospital patients in Massachusetts to aid in the healing process.

The study authors, from Ohio State University, hope to further investigate the effects of their modified version of the programme on reducing stress levels among groups including ICU nurses and cancer survivors.




Readers' comments (5)

  • I have just been assessing patients on a number of wards. Consistently the nurses are discussing the lack of staff, the closure of wards and redistribution of patients to already overstretched wards, staff having to re-apply for posts and then allocation to wards where they have no expertise because that's where they're needed, opening of 'flu wards with no extra staff, the constant introduction of 'initiatives' without extra finance, time or staff to carry them out...etc etc. Morale is at rock bottom.
    So please don't make them completely hysterical with the suggestion that meditation during their lunchbreaks would be useful in helping them 'attain a heightened awareness of the factors that cause them stress'.
    However, could I suggest that the powers that be attend sessions to attain the enlightenment that will afford them the insight to realise what a complete and utter mess they are making of the NHS and the lives and careers they are destroying.

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  • I have just one comment to make about meditation in lunch breaks - what lunch breaks are these.?

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  • Agreed, on an mental health ward, we don't get ANY breaks. And I think the notion of being able to sit at the desk in the nursing office is a very bad joke.

    Employing the amount of staff were SUPPOSE to have would dramatically reduce stress. I was left on a ward for over 2hours yesterday on my own (I'm a band 2 NA) just after an incident. So I went home and drank alcohol. So did all the nurses on shift. If we had breaks and the correct amount of staff, the NHS would not be breeding the culture where we must numb the stress by drinking/taking it out on people at home.

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  • I agree with all the Anonymouses of course. But on top of all that, meditation would help too.

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  • I agree with the above comments. Anyone recommending this programme for NHS frontline nurses has to be out of touch with reality. Yes, providing adequately staffed work environments would prevent much of the stress in the first place. Providing sessions to train incompetent and corrupt managers ( including so called HR advisors) the basics of good people management would be a better use of resources.These managers urgently need to learn how to follow their own rhetorical policies and procedures. I know that there are some good managers out there, but there are still too many with a mission to hound good nurses out of there careers. This professional jealousy is destroying the service that good staff are trying to provide. So I suggest we get our priorities right.
    Kathleen White ( Edinburgh)

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