The complex, high stress, technologically laden healthcare environment compromises providers' ability to be fully present in the moment; especially during patient interactions. This “pulling away” of attention (mindlessness) from the present moment creates an environment where decision making can take place in the absence of thoughtful, deliberate engagement in the task at hand. Mindfulness, can be cultivated through a variety of mindfulness practices. Few schools of nursing or hospitals offer mindfulness training, despite study findings supporting its effectiveness in improving levels of mindfulness, and perceived connections with patients and families. Methods A mindfulness program developed for this study and tailored to nursing was used to provide the mindfulness training. Pre and post training assessments were completed and included administration of the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory (FMI) and the Defining Issues Test (DIT) of moral judgment version 2. Results A statistically significant improvement in the FMI scores p = 0.003 was found. The pre-licensure group did not show a statistically significant improvement in their FMI scores pre to post training (p = 0.281), however the post graduate group did (p = 0.004). Statistically significant pre - post scores were found in two schemas of the DIT-2 (P [Post conventional] score, p = 0.039 and N2 [Maintaining norms] score, p = 0.032). Conclusions Mindfulness training improves mindfulness and some aspects of ethical decision making in the groups studied as part of this project. The findings of this study are promising and further demonstrate the merits of a mindfulness practice, however aspects of mindfulness training would need to be addressed prior to launching a full scale attempt to incorporate this into a work life or some other quality improvement program.
- Mindfulness meditation training
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