Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Enhancing the Resilience of Nurses and Midwives: Pilot of a Mindfulness-Based Program for Increased Health, Sense of Coherence and Decreased Depression, Anxiety and Stress

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Enhancing the Resilience of Nurses and Midwives: Pilot of a Mindfulness-Based Program for Increased Health, Sense of Coherence and Decreased Depression, Anxiety and Stress

Article excerpt

More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person's level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That's true in the cancer ward, it's true in the Olympics, and it's true in the boardroom. (Coutu, 2002, p. 48)

The development of resilience, in individuals and organizations, is viewed by many as a potential answer to the stress associated with contemporary lifestyles and workplaces (Jackson, Firtko, & Edenborough, 2007; Neenan, 2009). At this stage however, definitions of resilience remain somewhat inconsistent: with resilience viewed as innate or developmental; process or outcome; focusing on deficit or wellbeing; and, emphasizing benefits for individuals or workplaces (Grafton, Gillespie, & Henderson, 2010; Kabat-Zinn, 2005; Seibert, 2005). While broad definitions are argued to be both necessary and appropriate (Rutter, 1999), they provide limited direction for those seeking to develop programs and support for staffworking within stressful occupations. Building a strong and resilient workforce can, however, be explicitly linked to the development of mindfulness (Brown & Ryan, 2003; Grafton et al., 2010; Thompson, Arnkoff, & Glass, 2011) and there is increasing evidence to suggest that a more mindful workforce is a more resilient workforce (Chaskalson, 2011).

The evolution of inquiry into resilience has been organized into three waves (Grafton et al., 2010). The first wave focused on resilience as a set of characteristics such as hardiness, coping, self-efficacy, optimism and adaptability. The second involved a shiftin focus to resilience as a dynamic process where adversity was met with adaptation derived from learning gained by experience. The most recent wave views resilience in terms of innate energy or motivating life force within an individual that enables the individual to cope with adversity, learn from experience and engage in cognitive transformations (Grafton et al., 2010, p. 700). Importantly this wave of inquiry points to the development of resilience through holistic self-care practices such as mindfulness meditation (Siegel, 2007).

Health workers in general, and midwives and nurses in particular, experience high levels of stress/distress due to the nature of their work and workplaces; and, their socialization into ways of working that minimizes the likelihood of self-care (Cohen-Katz, Wiley, Capuano, Baker, & Shapiro, 2004). The work presented within this current paper came about through a desire on the part of management to provide midwives and nurses with an opportunity to engage in a mindfulnessbased stress reduction program. This opportunity allowed piloting of the program in order to inform future research focusing on mindfulness meditation for midwives and nurses.

THE BURDENS OF MIDWIFERY AND NURSING AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR RESILIENCE

In recent years the midwifery and nursing professions have embraced the philosophies of 'being with women' and 'person centered care' in order to enhance the experiences and outcomes of childbearing women, patients and their families. Arguably, midwives now regard the quality of their relationships with women as '... a major source of job motivation and satisfaction ... and the very essence of midwifery care' (Leinweber & Rowe, 2010, p. 77). For nurses, meaningful relationships with their patients have always been a major factor in their ongoing commitment to their work since the humanistic caring paradigm requires nurses to 'develop a deep personal and interpersonal understanding and sensitivity to provide effective care' (Mackenzie, Poulin, & Seidman-Carlson, 2006, p. 105). Establishing such relationships necessitates the health professional's own emotional engagement with those in their care, an engagement that may create an emotional cost. The 'costs of caring' concept has received much attention in the literature that describes it variously as 'compassion fatigue', 'post-traumatic stress disorder', 'secondary traumatic stress' and 'vicarious traumatization' (Dominguez-Gomez & Rutledge, 2009; Leinweber & Rowe, 2010; Mollart, Skinner, Newing, & Foureur, 2011; Thomas & Wilson, 2004). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.