Mind-Body Skills Training for Resident Wellness: A Pilot Study of a Brief Mindfulness Intervention

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Background: Interventions to address burnout include mind-body skills training (MBST), but few studies have evaluated the feasibility of MBST for busy pediatric residents. Objective: In this pilot study, we tested the feasibility of a brief MBST intervention, using in-person peer-led training supported by online modules, to decrease stress and burnout in pediatric resident physicians.

Methods: Of 99 (10%) residents, 10 residents at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio participated in up to four 90-minute MBST sessions more than 1 month, led by a co-resident with 5 years of informal training in mind-body skills. Participants were offered 8 assigned online modules through OSU Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. Measures including Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Cohen’s Perceived Stress, Smith’s Brief Resilience, Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised, and Neff’s Self-Compassion Scale (NSS) were administered before (T1) and after (T2) the course. Participants were offered optional monthly “maintenance” sessions for 6 months and completed a third set of measures at this follow-up (T3).

Results: The residents completed an average of 4.3/8 online modules and attended an average of 2.8/4 in-person sessions. There was significant improvement in positive attitude, perceived stress, and resilience post intervention (T2). Follow-up evaluation (T3) also demonstrated significant improvement in burnout (depersonalization) and mindfulness. More than 75% of participants found the course worthwhile.

Conclusions: A short mixed-method mindfulness-based skills course may be a practical way to offer resilience and stress management training to busy resident physicians.