Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Creative Innovations in Leadership
Innovative Leadership: Mindfulness as a Skill for Nursing Leaders
Teri Britt Pipe, PhD, RN, Nursing Research, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, USA, Jennifer J. Bortz, PhD, ABPP/CN, Psychology and Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, USA, Vicki Buchda, MS, RN, Nursing Administration, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, USA, and Debra Kay Pendergast, MSN, RN, CNAA, Administration, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Phoenix, AZ, USA.
Learning Objective #1: describe the connection between mindfulness and leadership in nursing.
Learning Objective #2: describe leadership implications of research on the effectiveness of MBSR on reduction of stress symtpoms and caring efficacy.

Background: The nursing shortage in the U.S. has intensified the clinical and leadership demands on nurses (Judkins et al, 2004; Reineck & Furino, 2005; Shirey, 2006). While the burdens and dangers of leadership stress are increasingly well-documented, few studies have used rigorous methods to address workplace-centered approaches for stress management in nurses (MacKenzie et al, 2006).


Leadership Approach:  Nursing leadership within the organization was supportive of a study to ascertain the effectiveness and feasibility of a 4-week mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction (MBSR) skills-based program delivered in the workplace compared to a seminar series on stress in the workplace.


Design: A randomized, controlled trial of a structured, intensive program was implemented in a sample of 33 nurse leaders. The findings presented here are part of a larger program of research involving both professional and family caregivers, specifically addressing measures of stress and caring efficacy.


Intervention: MBSR is a structured education program founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Initially the program was designed for patients with chronic medical conditions with the intention of teaching individuals means of enriching their lives through adaptive coping, focused attention, and cognitive restructuring. MBSR focuses on mindfulness meditation training to enhance individuals’ ability to cope with stress, pain and illness. Its benefits have since been extended to healthy individuals, professional organizations, business leaders, and health care professionals.

 Leadership Implications

The data from this study indicate that in this sample, participation in a 4-week mindfulness meditation course for professional caregivers significantly decreased self-report ratings of distress, symptom intensity, depression and anxiety. Participants rated the course and instructor as highly effective and worthwhile. The feasibility of this approach is particularly important given the challenge of developing and implementing work-place programs that are available for leaders with intense time demands.