Mindfulness to Combat Health Care Worker Burnout during COVID-19: Evaluating a 4-week tailored program

Ray, Mira | $75,000

Ontario Georgian College 2020 NSERC College COVID-19 Grant

During the COVID‑19 pandemic, health care workers are susceptible to virus exposure, increased workload,

and moral dilemmas. As such, these essential workers are at risk for burnout. Establishing an effective

intervention for health care workers to reduce burnout is a critical challenge faced by hospitals, including

Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, amidst the COVID‑19 pandemic. Mindfulness programs are known

to decrease physician burnout. However, to our knowledge, this proposed research is the first to evaluate the

efficacy of online mindfulness interventions for health care workers, as well as long-term maintenance effects.

To-date, face-to-face delivery has been the favoured instructional method for mindfulness programs. With

COVID‑19 rendering in-person delivery impossible, Waypoint would deliver this program virtually.

Specifically, leveraging its current face-to-face- mindfulness program, Waypoint will implement a 4-week

online mindfulness training program adapted from the Mindfulness Without Borders (MWB), Mindfulness

Ambassador Program, an evidence-based curriculum, rooted in social and emotional development. The online

program will be delivered by certified Waypoint facilitators, and open to all health care workers across the

North Simcoe Muskoka area. Georgian College’s Department of Research and Innovation will leverage its

developed network of researchers to lead and support this project. Collaboratively, with Waypoint, researchers

will examine the efficacy of the 4-week online program on mitigating burnout in health care workers and

enhancing resilience, plus quantify the long-term effects in health care workers. Knowledge gained will be

shared with health care leaders tasked with combatting burnout during a pandemic, and guide the delivery of

wellbeing programs in the broader community. Findings will help combat COVID-19-related burnout and

mental health issues, as well as springboard development of an online curriculum that can be delivered

remotely and safely during a pandemic to health care workers.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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