Burnout is a three-component occupational syndrome characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment that results from prolonged work-related stress (Maslach & Leiter, 2016). As CRNAs and SRNAs experience high levels of work-related stress, burnout is now a significant problem in these populations (Horvath & Grass, 2020; Mahoney et al., 2020). This doctoral project sought to reduce the burden of burnout in CRNAs and SRNAs by implementing a learning management system (LMS) to teach brief burnout interventions.
Feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the following three brief burnout interventions will be determined: Yoga stretching, breathing techniques, and mindfulness. Feasibility will be measured from the extensive literature review of each technique. Acceptability will be measured by descriptive statistical analysis of a REDCap® survey of the convenience sample population of CRNAs and SRNAs at Winchester Anesthesiologists Inc. and Wake Forest School of Medicine; Qualitative REDCap® survey data will also be examined for themes. Effectiveness of the LMS will be determined through pre-post test instruments embedded into the LMS.
The literature review yielded 17 studies supporting the feasibility of yoga stretching, breathing techniques, and mindfulness as brief, effective interventions for reducing burnout. Acceptability of the brief interventions was measured as moderately favorable. A two-questions Maslach Burnout Inventory score indicated an 84% incidence of burnout in the sampled populations while subjective assessment of burnout indicated a 34% incidence of burnout. Visual and kinesthetic learners dominated the sample. The major theme within the qualitative data centered around issues involving time at work. The effectiveness was not able to be determined as the LMS was not launched during the timeframe of this project.
There is support for the feasibility and acceptability of a LMS instructing in the brief burnout interventions of yoga stretching, breathing techniques, and mindfulness. Further work will determine the effectiveness of such an intervention in the population of CRNAs and SRNAs. Visual and kinesthetic-based education in burnout and it’s symptoms is central to any holistic approach to burnout reduction, and the lack of such education may help explain the gap between objective and subjective assessments of burnout. As in other fields of Nursing and Medicine, burnout remains a devastating threat to providers, patients, and healthcare organizations. Future projects should seek to optimize the relationship between time at work and this burnout threat.