The reviewed article entitled “Mindfulness and Compassion-Oriented Practices at Work Reduce Distress and Enhance Self-Care of Palliative Care Teams: A Mixed-Method Evaluation of an “On the Job” Program” was written by Orellana-Rios et al. (2018). This pilot study examined the efficiency of an intervention aimed at reducing distress, enhancing resilience, and improving the motivation of interdisciplinary palliative care teams. The authors conducted a mixed-method study that included such instruments as observation, self-reporting, as well as objective data (cortisol) measurement. The pilot study was effective as the researchers assessed the efficacy of the intervention and identified some of the limitations to be addressed.
The purpose of the research under consideration was to assess the feasibility of an intervention Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) developed to solve a significant issue that can have adverse effects on the quality of provided care. Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) provided data regarding the challenges healthcare professionals working in palliative care faced, including burnout, distress, depression, posttraumatic stress, and detachment.
Apart from direct negative effects on practitioners’ mental health, a specific impact on the quality of care was also discussed. The problem is, by all means, relevant as it is associated with multiple undesirable effects on people’s health. The advances in medicine and demographic trends suggest that the load on palliative care facilities will grow, so employees should be ready to deliver patient-centered high-quality care (Marconi et al., 2019). The significance of the problem was properly highlighted in the article in question, and the gaps in the current knowledge base on the matter were identified.
The problem statement suggests that the experimental study is the most appropriate tool that can assist in attaining the set goals. The objective of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, so a group of people should receive the training to identify the exact effects of the intervention. The developed training program was based on the use of meditation practices as well as other psychological strategies to cope with the mental health issues mentioned above. The variables are also not described in the introduction, but the areas of major concern are mentioned, and these are intervention feasibility, the size of participants’ distress, emotional regulation, and job-related competencies, as well as subjectively perceived effects of the provided training.
The article under consideration does not contain a literature review section, but Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) referred to several studies to support their claims. The authors did not provide a concise analysis of the existing knowledge on the matter, but they stressed that although some coping strategies existed, they were insufficient to address the needs of healthcare professionals. The article does not include any description of the theoretical background of the study, but this limitation is typical of pilot studies.
Selection of Participants
The participants were the employees of a palliative care center, and the article includes descriptive statistics data concerning these people’s socio-demographics. The overall number of those who participated in the intervention was 28 (Orellana-Rios et al., 2018). Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) utilized t-tests to identify the differences between post-intervention and baseline. The significance level was established at p = 0.05 (Orellana-Rios et al., 2018). The article includes the description of major descriptive data, such as participants’ mean age, gender, and profession.
The researchers recruited staff members of a palliative care facility by internal advertisement, which suggests that the sample could be biased. People could decide to take part in the research due to various reasons including their need for support or their background. Such a sampling method is inappropriate for a large-scale study, but it can be employed in terms of a pilot study. Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) mentioned that the participants were informed about the basic aspects of the study and signed the corresponding consent forms, which is a standard tool to ensure the protection of human participants’ rights. The study did not imply the coverage of sensitive topics or vulnerable populations, so no further strategies to protect participants’ rights were needed.
Employed instrumentation is properly described and is the most detailed section of the article. Data collection tools were diverse due to the focus on different variables. Such data collection instruments were utilized as questionnaires, saliva tests, and semi-structured interviews. These methods enabled the authors to measure the efficacy of the intervention in terms of the identified variables. The validity of the self-reporting tools was discussed in sufficient detail.
For instance, the reliabilities of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) employed in the research were considerable (α = 082 for emotional exhaustion and α = 0.75 for accomplishments) (Orellana-Rios et al., 2018). Cronbach’s alpha for the score of the Perceived Stress Questionnaire was also mentioned, and it proved the efficacy of the instrument and its relevance (with α = 0.85). The reliabilities of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, The Symptom Checklist-90-R, Somatization Scale, and Emotion Regulation Skills Questionnaire that was employed ranged between α = 0.70 and α = 0.85. Therefore, it is possible to state that the reliabilities of the vast majority of instruments were adequate. The researchers mentioned that the validity of the tools was confirmed, but no details were included in the article in question.
Design and Procedure
It is necessary to note that the reviewed article describes the results of a pilot study, so no hypothesis or specific research questions were checked or addressed. The procedures were described in sufficient detail making the study’s replication possible. The primary components of the intervention are also described, but the use of this program based on the provided description is impossible as more detail is needed.
Research Questions, Analysis, and Results
Since pilot studies do not check hypotheses or respond to certain research questions, the article under consideration does not include this information. The major goal of a pilot study is to assess the efficacy of certain interventions or instruments. However, it is possible to formulate research questions based on the purpose statement and the literature in the following way:
- Research Question 1a (RQ1a). Does the intervention influence participants’ anxiety, stress, and burnout levels, as well as tension, joy, resilience, and emotion regulation awareness?
- RQ 2a. Does the training program affect the cortisol level?
- RQ 3a. What are the participants’ views on the efficacy of the intervention?
The intervention proved to be effective as it reached the majority of established goals and had some impact on participants in diverse domains. Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) reported that considerable changes in burnout and anxiety were identified (see Table 1). Personal accomplishment increased, although no significant impact on depression and somatization were apparent. Cortisol variables did not change considerably during the implementation of the training program.
Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) noted that the compliance rate was approximately 70% due to different working shifts and workloads. The satisfaction with the training program was high since 60% of the participants noted they were “very satisfied,” and 16% were “satisfied” with the intervention (Orellana-Rios et al., 2018, p. 9). The researchers also added that 96% of the participants stated that they intended to use the gained knowledge in their practice.
The article under analysis contains detailed data regarding the results of the pilot study. The significance of the variables was measured, although no hypotheses were formulated due to the nature of the study. Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) presented data effectively using tables and graphs with the necessary commentaries. Hence, the results of the study are clear and can be reviewed effectively.
The results of the study are complete as the authors measured the effectiveness of the intervention in terms of all the aspects they identified as relevant. The discussion of the findings is detailed, and the results of this study were compared with the outcomes of similar researches. According to Orellana-Rios et al. (2018), the findings are similar to other studies suggesting that the use of meditation and other psychological strategies employed in this study was effective. Therefore, the results of the study under consideration are reproducible.
All in all, the generalizations are consistent with the obtained results. The training program that involved the use of meditation and the focus on mindfulness and compassion was effective and positively accepted by healthcare professionals. However, it is important to mention the major limitations of this study. The sample size is small, so the findings can hardly be generalized. Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) also mentioned that the absence of a control group made it impossible to identify causality between intervention and participants’ psychological state (Orellana-Rios et al., 2018).
Finally, the duration of the training program was regarded as insufficient for the establishment of long-term effects. Based on these limitations, Orellana-Rios et al. (2018) provided several recommendations for future research. It is stressed that the duration of the program should be increased considerably, and the efficacy of the intervention should be checked with the use of a larger sample and control groups.
The researchers did not describe potential theoretical and practical implications, but the study can become a starting point of further investigation related to healthcare professionals’ resilience and motivation. The study contributes to the enhancement of the existing knowledge base regarding the matter and equips practitioners with specific strategies they can utilize in their daily practice. The major strengths of the article are associated with the presentation of data and the focus on the intervention. However, the article lacks precision related to the theoretical background of the study. The authors do not formulate research questions or hypotheses due to the specifics of the pilot study, but these elements should be included in large-scale research.
The review of this article is instrumental in identifying the central components of an academic article and research. The focus on the quantitative aspect of the study based on the use of mixed methods helps to evaluate the validity of this and other studies. The article in question also widens a healthcare professional’s horizons regarding the use of different tools to cope with depression, burnout, detachment, and other issues.
Marconi, A., Bàlzola, M. A., Gatto, R., Soresini, A., Mabilia, D., & Poletti, S. (2019). Compassion-oriented mindfulness-based program and health professionals: A Single-centered pilot study on burnout. European Journal of Mental Health, 14(2), 280-295. Web.
Orellana-Rios, C. L., Radbruch, L., Kern, M., Regel, Y. U., Anton, A., Sinclair, S., & Schmidt, S. (2017). Mindfulness and compassion-oriented practices at work reduce distress and enhance self-care of palliative care teams: A mixed-method evaluation of an “on the job” program. BMC Palliative Care, 17(1), 1-16. Web.