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Inside Out-Mindfulness for Burnout

Jenn Holst


Tony Seikel


Course Length: 1.5 contact hours (.15 AOTA CEU)
PRIMARY Presentation Category: Mental Health
SECONDARY Presentation Category: Professional Issues
Intended Audience: Introductory
Short Abstract:

Mindfulness can alleviate symptoms of burnout and increases resiliency. The presentation describes burnout and offers mindfulness-based solutions and advocacy. Participants will have an opportunity to practice 4 different meditations that protect healthcare providers from the symptoms of burnout.

Full Abstract:

The ICD-11 (2011) defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress… characterized by…feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.” Burnout always includes loss of personal resiliency and an institution that fails to support that resiliency. Burnout includes a sense of unfairness in administrative structure, which contributes to workplace stress. One stress arises from organizational-level issues, including workload, productivity demands, and pressures of documentation. 

Healthcare burnout prevalence worldwide is alarming. In a study of 617 hospitals in the United States, 34% of nursing staff self-identified as burned out, with 25% reporting job dissatisfaction (Aiken, 2012). Shanafelt, et al. (2015) found 54% of physicians with symptoms of burnout. Balogun, Titiloye, Balogun, Oyeyemi, and Katz, J. (2002) found that among 169 Physical Therapists (PTs) and 138 Occupational Therapists (OTs), nearly 27% surveyed had at least one indicator of burnout. Shin, McCarthy, Schmidt, Zellner, Ellerman, and Britton (2022) found that, on average, OTs experienced emotion exhaustion multiple times per month.

Burnout results in reduced quality of patient care, increased patient mortality, and lost productivity (Vella & McIver, 2019). Loss of empathy results in overall reduction in the quality of care and increases in the rate of errors (Jun, et al., 2021). Productivity declines and job satisfaction suffers, which is associated with increased absenteeism and intention to leave the position or profession. Patient satisfaction and safety declines (Jun, et al., 2021), increasing medical errors and dissatisfaction in both patients and caregivers (Colindres, 2018). Park (2021) found that engagement with the job, job satisfaction, strongly developed personal and professional identity, and the feeling of being valued strongly predicted lower burnout symptoms in OTs. 

Mindfulness has been increasingly used in healthcare as an individual intervention to increase resiliency to stressful life events. It has been shown repeatedly to improve symptoms of burnout and to result in increased compassion and empathy in healthcare (e.g., Gozalo, Tarrés, Ayora, Herrero, Kareaga, & Roca, 2019; Stephenson, 2019).  Mindfulness supports resilience in OTs and reduces the impact of burnout (Stephenson, 2019; Suyi, Meredith, & Khan, 2017). 

This presentation provides (a) definition and description of the characteristics of workplace burnout, (b) brief description of effects of mindfulness on burnout, and (c) active experience in mindfulness practice.

Learning Objectives:
  1. The participant will be able to describe 3 psychological effects of burnout.
    2. The participant will be able to describe one mindfulness practice that can alleviate symptoms of workplace burnout.
    3. The participant will be able to describe one strategy that an institution can implement to alleviate workplace burnout.
Educational Value:

Burnout has been identified as a global epidemic in the workplace by the World Health Organization. Burnout results in reduced quality of care, loss of sense of personal worth, increased work absence, increased substance abuse, and increased risk for patient safety. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to alleviate personal symptoms of burnout, and there are institutional changes that can support healthy work environment. Implementation of personal and institutional changes leads to happier and healthier clinicians and stable work environments that support the efforts of the clinician.

Company Affiliated With: Idaho State University, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Financial Disclosure: The presenters have no financial interest in the content of their presentation.
Non-Financial Disclosure e.g. Member of; or, No Non-Financial Disclosures: Teach mindfulness courses at ISU.

Online registration is now closed.

Onsite registration is available Friday, October 20th 8:00-9:00 AM and Saturday, October 21st 7:30-8:30 AM, at the registration table. Please have a credit or debit card available to complete the virtual registration, no cash or check payments will be taken.