Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces PTSD, anxiety, and burnout in nurses during COVID-19

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Frontline nurses who learned the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique during the COVID-19 pandemic showed rapid and significant improvements in flourishing, PTSD, anxiety, and burnout over 3 months compared to controls, according to a study published today in the Journal of Nursing Administration.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of Transcendental Meditation on nurses’ multidimensional well-being, conceptualized as the presence of flourishing and the absence of PTSD, anxiety, and burnout.

A total of 104 nurses in three Florida hospitals participated. Validated tools included the Secure Flourishing Index (SFI), PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5), General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI). Nurses also completed a Demographic Survey and a Meditation Frequency Questionnaire.

Clinical nurses who were randomized to the Transcendental Meditation group took the instruction with certified TM teachers, which included follow-up meetings over a 3-month period. Adherence to the study protocol was notably strong considering the disruption caused by the pandemic. The control group continued with “life as usual” and were offered the TM course at the conclusion of the study.

Study results

Based on the statistical analysis there was a 62% decrease in anxiety in the TM group from baseline to 1 month compared to 3% in the controls, and a 54% decrease in the TM group after 3 months compared to 17% in the controls.

PTSD decreased 53% from baseline to 1 month in the TM group compared to 9% in the control group, and 57% in the TM group over 3 months compared to a 17% decrease in the controls.

Burnout (due to emotional exhaustion) decreased by 27% from baseline to 1 month in the TM group compared to no change in the controls, and 24% in the TM group over the 3-month study period compared to no change in controls.

In the TM group, flourishing improved by 15% from baseline to 1 month compared to a decrease of 1% in the control group and increased 16% in the TM group compared to a 3% increase in controls from baseline to 3 months.

Authors’ conclusion

According to lead author Jennifer Bonamer, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, NPD-BC, Nursing Professional Development Specialist at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System: “It has never been more crucial that we support the health of our nurses and other clinical staff. This study is important because it demonstrated that TM was substantially helpful, even during COVID, in reducing PTSD, anxiety and burnout experienced by nurses. Furthermore, it helped to improve nurses’ experience of thriving (flourishing) beyond just surviving, even in the midst of today’s challenging healthcare environment.”

The authors conclude this study demonstrates the effectiveness of nurses’ practice of the TM technique to improve flourishing and reduce PTSD, anxiety, and burnout. TM provides nurses with a simple, effective, and evidence-based strategy for enhancing well-being, with the goal of retaining clinical nurses in practice.

Source:

Transcendental Meditation for Nurses

Journal reference:

Bonamer, J. I., et al. (2023) Clinical Nurse Well-Being Improved through Transcendental Meditation: A Multi-Method Randomized Controlled Trial. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration. doi.org/10.1097/NNA.0000000000001372.

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