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