Surgical intensive care unit personnel are exposed to catastrophic situations as they care for seriously injured or ill patients. Few interventions have been developed to reduce the negative effects of work stress in this environment.
This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of a workplace intervention for increasing resilience to stress. The intervention was implemented within the unique constraints characteristic of surgical intensive care units.
Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The mindfulness-based intervention included meditation, mild yoga movement, and music and was conducted in a group format 1 hour a week for 8 weeks in a surgical intensive care unit during work hours. Assessments were performed 1 week before and 1 week after the intervention.
The intervention was well received, with a 97% overall retention rate and 100% retention in the intervention group. Work satisfaction, measured with the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, increased significantly in the intervention group with no change in the control group. Negative correlations were found between the vigor subscale scores of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale and scores for emotional exhaustion on the Maslach Burnout Inventory and scores for burnout on the Professional Quality of Life scale. Participants rated recognizing their stress response as a main benefit of the intervention.
Workplace group interventions aimed at decreasing the negative effects of stress can be applied within hospital intensive care units. Despite many constraints, attendance at weekly sessions was high. Institutional support was critical for implementation of this program.