Original Research - Special Collection: Mental Health and COVID-19

Efficacy of a brief online mindfulness-based intervention on the psychological well-being of health care professionals and trainees during the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed method design

Iram Osman, Shaista Hamid, Veena S. Singaram
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 26 | a1682 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v26i0.1682 | © 2021 Iram Osman, Shaista Hamid, Veena S. Singaram | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021

About the author(s)

Iram Osman, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Shaista Hamid, Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Center, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Durban, South Africa
Veena S. Singaram, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, health professionals were pushed to the front line of a global health crisis unprepared and resource constrained, which affected their mental well-being.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of a brief online mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on stress and burnout for health professionals training and working in South Africa during the COVID-19 crisis.

Setting: The context of the study is the overburdened, under-resourced health care system in South Africa during a global pandemic.

Methods: A mixed method framework was adopted for this study. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive analysis and the participants’ qualitative experiences were interpreted using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Forty-seven participants took part in this study. The study found a statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduction in stress levels and emotional exhaustion as well as an increase in mindful awareness and feelings of personal accomplishment after the intervention. The participants’ shared experiences were analysed in two parts. The pre-intervention analysis presented with central themes of loss of control and a sense of powerlessness because of COVID-19. The post-intervention analysis comprised themes of a sense of acquired control and empowerment through increased mindfulness.

Conclusions: The study found that a brief online MBI can be associated with reduced levels of stress and burnout as well as an increased sense of control and empowerment, felt both personally and professionally, during a global crisis.

Contribution: The impact of an online MBI for health care professionals amidst a pandemic has not been previously documented.


Keywords

mindfulness; stress; burnout; COVID-19; mental health; self-care; health professionals

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