Watching educational videos that inspire healthcare professionals to reflect on awe, gratitude, and kindness can lead to lasting improvements in mental health outcomes such as depression and emotional exhaustion.
Rapid, day-to-day response provides a timely and cost-effective way to address increased employee burnout during the COVID pandemic.
“Emotional exhaustion was bad among healthcare workers even before the outbreak, and it’s even worse now,” says study senior author Bryan Sexton, director of the Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality.
“This problem affects not only healthcare workers but also patients. There is a clear need for accessible, evidence-based approaches to addressing the problem.”
For research published Boundaries in Public HealthSexton and colleagues analyzed the content of various interventions that help people recover after emotional turmoil.
The essence of these approaches is to acknowledge challenges while distracting people from gloomy thoughts by prompting them to think or act in positive ways, such as identifying personal reasons for gratitude, showing kindness to others, or remembering admirable moments from a movie. nature.
“We call it a skill, not a pill,” Sexton says.
Most such interventions tend to be long and tedious, making it difficult to follow up for people who are already exhausted. Sexton’s team developed the reflection activities into two- to seven-minute modules that participants attended from their phones every day for 10 days.
“We wanted our intervention to provide small, simple things that people can do and have immediate benefits,” says Sexton. “Our goal was to minimize that and still be effective.”
Researchers tested the WISER intervention for Web-Based Application for the Science of Enhancing Resilience among nearly 480 healthcare workers. They randomly assigned participants to one group that received the intervention immediately, or to a second group that waited two weeks. The waiting list group served as the benchmark to gauge how the intervention group responded one week later.
Every evening at 7:00 pm, participants received a text message with an educational video of the day, which included simple and engaging reflective activities of less than 10 minutes. Each module contained a prompt to do three good things, and other modules included activities to develop awe or gratitude, perform acts of kindness, or strengthen relationships.
The investigator evaluated whether the intervention affected emotional exhaustion, depressive symptoms, work-life integration, happiness, emotional development, and emotional recovery.
Upon analysis, five of the six well-being results improved at one week, and all results improved after one, six, and 12 months.
“These modules show that a few minutes a day can have a tremendous impact,” says Sexton. “It makes people stop and think about things that are good, hopeful, grateful, inspiring, or wonderful.
“Remembering something as dazzling as a beautiful sunset or something a grandparent, mentor, or coach did for them and making them feel grateful are non-trigger instructions that really help people recharge,” says Sexton. “But just as important is that they are simple and easily implemented with minimal time and cost.”
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Health Services Research and Quality Agency funded the study.
Source: Duke University