During the last several months, people around the globe are under a serious and unknown threat of the Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19. This epidemic has already challenged millions of hospitals, and healthcare providers must work hard under constant stress. Nurses who take care of high morbidity/mortality patients put themselves at risk of having mental health problems due to increased job demands, limited resources, and instability (Mo et al., 2020). The emotional well-being of nurses needs to be promoted, and the development of mind-fullness programs is one of the available options. This paper aims at assessing the implementation of meditation intervention in terms of reducing and predicting work stress among nurses. The achieved results will be useful for improving health care, including patient safety, service quality, and effectiveness. COVID-19 may cause multiple psychological changes among nurses, and its outcomes remain poorly investigated. The DNP scholar should underline the importance of stress management in healthcare settings during pandemics. Mind-fullness meditation programs for nurses who work with hard patients in the COVID-19 period will help to reduce the level of work stress and contribute to the enhancement of care effectiveness and family support.
The protection of nurses’ well-being is one of the critical elements in health care because the condition of an employee determines the quality of services and safety of patients. Nurses worry about many things, including the impossibility to return home as planned (because of COVID-19 unpredictability) and the necessity to support patients who know nothing about this disease (Mo et al., 2020). Caring for people with high mortality or morbidity ratings is stressful for experienced nurses, even without pandemics (Cedar & Walker, 2020). There are situations when clinical interventions cannot help anymore to preserve the patient’s life. The feeling of bereavement when a patient dies or a premonition of an inevitable loss contributes to emotional labor and increased requirements (Cedar & Walker, 2020). During the last decade, mind-fullness practices have been developed and assessed to support healthcare providers. Mind-fullness meditation is a practice when a person learns how to maintain openness and patience (Gilmartin et al., 2017). Regarding the spread of the pandemic, the role of nurses in taking care of seriously ill patients, and possible problems with emotional well-being, meditation has to be considered as an option for nurses.
The main problem is the lack of practice and knowledge of how to implement mind-fullness meditation intervention for nurses during the pandemic period. At this moment, the coronavirus epidemic requires social isolation and infection control at the highest level (Mo et al., 2020). There are many recommendations on how to limit communication and avoid unnecessary transportation. Some nurses are not able to go home because of the necessity to predict the dissemination of the virus. They cannot see their families, help their parents, and hug their children for a long period (Mo et al., 2020). The same situation is observed at global, national, state, and local levels, and millions of people are involved in discussions, research programs, and online conferences to share their experiences and attempts to improve the quality of health care offered to patients and their families.
Global, National, and State Perspectives
At the global/national level, leaders and governments do everything possible to keep populations informed about recent changes, improvements, and losses. Nurses, as well as every person, can find the latest statistics online, using their local sites and international sources. At this moment, more than 3.5 million coronavirus cases are officially registered, with about 250,000 deaths and 1.2 million recovered (“COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic,” 2020). Healthcare workers put themselves at high risk of contacting people who have the virus directly and learning that many nurses and doctors have already died from COVID-19 (Levenson, 2020). They know that what they do is dangerous for themselves and their families, but have nothing to do but continue completing their tasks and helping people.
As a result, high-stress situations and long hours of work influence the quality of care and co-workers’ relationships. Some nurses admit that they cannot sleep well because their minds do not “shut off,” and the stream of coughing and sweating patients does not end (Levenson, 2020). The national healthcare system is challenged due to a lack of resources. The governments are not able to provide enough financial support, and the economics of many countries undergo multiple changes. Therefore, the necessity to focus on financial and economic transitions reduces the possibility of understanding nurses’ needs and expectations. Nurses have to protect themselves, as well as patients and society, without an opportunity to take care of their mental health and physical conditions. They cry for their co-workers, families, and patients who may not return home, accept visitors, or die soon (Levenson, 2020). Time commitment turns out to be a serious barrier to mind-fullness practices among healthcare workers, and it is hard to think about brief interventions to improve their well-being (Gilmartin et al., 2017). The lack of outside support and communication contributes to stress, a decrease in job effectiveness, and poor confidence.
Local Attempts to Implement Intervention
The impact of mind-fullness meditation programs within a particular practicum site cannot be ignored. The coronavirus crisis has already entered many American hospitals and medical centers. Many global organizations aim at supporting healthcare professionals and facilities and providing common recommendations on how to deal with the crisis-associated changes. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020) discusses how outbreaks are stressful to people, either ordinary citizens or medical workers, and underlines that everyone may react differently. However, isolation, increased responsibilities, and helplessness in regard to many patients provoke new cases of anxiety and depression among nurses, which affect their stress load (Mo et al., 2020). There is no time to develop new policies or think about the effective delivery system because of the lack of financial support. People without insurance ask for help, and hospitals should protect their patients.
The implementation of a new mind-fullness meditation program can be effective for local hospitals and other medical facilities. This practice does not require much money or other resources. Regarding the fact that many nurses stay at hospitals 24/7, it is possible to find several minutes or hours to improve their emotional state and meditate, following brief recommendations (Gilmartin et al., 2017). This initiative may be implemented distantly, using online social media. An idea to protect nurses’ well-being and make them prepared for new patients and work does not contradict any laws or existing regulations, and the results of this project depend on how well the DNP scholar is able to explain the benefits and details of the study. Today, no one is able to predict the end of the coronavirus crisis, meaning that nurses remain exposed to constant stress and challenges. If there is a chance to reduce work-related concerns and challenges, it is necessary to take action and investigate the outcomes of a mind-fullness meditation program within a particular setting.
- Cedar, S. H., & Walker, G. (2020). Protecting the wellbeing of nurses providing end-of-life care. Nursing Times, 116(2), 30-34. Web.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Stress and coping. CDC.
- COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (2020). Worldometer. Web.
- Gilmartin, H., Goyal, A., Hamati, M. C., Mann, J., Saint, S., & Chopra, V. (2017). Brief mindfulness practices for healthcare providers – A systematic literature review. The American Journal of Medicine, 130(10). Web.
- Levenson, E. (2020). Stress on health care workers is creating ‘second victims’ in the coronavirus pandemic. CNN. Web.
- Mo, Y., Deng, L., Zhang, L., Lang, Q., Liao, C., Wang, N., Qin, M., & Huang, H. (2020). Work stress among Chinese nurses to support Wuhan for fighting against the COVID-19 epidemic. Journal of Nursing Management. Web.