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J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open ; 2(6): e12619, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1589123


OBJECTIVE: Emergency clinicians face elevated rates of burnout that result in poor outcomes for clinicians, patients, and health systems. The objective of this single-arm pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility of a Transcendental Meditation (TM) intervention for emergency clinicians during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to explore the potential effectiveness in improving burnout, sleep, and psychological health. METHODS: Emergency clinicians (physicians, nurses, and physician-assistants) from 2 urban hospitals were recruited to participate in TM instruction (8 individual or group in-person and remote sessions) for 3 months. Session attendance was the primary feasibility outcome (prespecified as attending 6/8 sessions), and burnout was the primary clinical outcome. Participant-reported measures of feasibility and validated measures of burnout, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and stress were collected at baseline and the 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. Descriptive statistics and linear mixed-effects models were used. RESULTS: Of the 14 physicians (46%), 7 nurses (22%), and 10 physician-assistants (32%) who participated, 61% were female (n = 19/32). TM training and at-home meditation practice was feasible for clinicians as 90.6% (n = 29/32) attended 6/8 training sessions and 80.6% self-reported meditating at least once a day on average. Participants demonstrated significant reductions in burnout (P < .05; effect sizes, Cohen's d = 0.43-0.45) and in symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbance (P values < .001; Cohen's d = 0.70-0.87). CONCLUSION: TM training was feasible for emergency clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic and led to significant reductions in burnout and psychological symptoms. TM is a safe and effective meditation tool to improve clinicians' well-being.