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Pilot study of the effectiveness of a Mindful Self‐Care and Resiliency program for rural doctors in Australia

Rees, C.S., Craigie, M.A., Slatyer, S., Crawford, C., Bishop, M., McPhee, E. and Hegney, D.G. (2020) Pilot study of the effectiveness of a Mindful Self‐Care and Resiliency program for rural doctors in Australia. Australian Journal of Rural Health . Early View.

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Rural doctors are difficult to recruit and retain. Burnout and stress in the medical workforce fluctuates according to location. Overall, doctors have an elevated risk of depression and suicide compared to the general population and other professionals. Higher levels of occupational stress also effect patient care, levels of work satisfaction and relationships with others. This study evaluated the effectiveness, acceptability, feasibility and sustainability of the Mindful Self‐Care and Resiliency Program.

This was a sequential mixed‐method study involving the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data.

The study was conducted in Emerald, Queensland.

Thirteen doctors took part in the program with seven providing pre and post survey responses. Qualitative data were collected via semi‐structured telephone interviews with an additional four rural doctors.

4.1 Intervention
The Mindful Self‐Care and Resiliency program consisted of a 4‐hour face‐to‐face session and three 1‐hour video‐conference follow up sessions.

4.1.1 Main outcome measures
Burnout, negative affect, well‐being and psychological strain were assessed using self‐report measures before and after taking part in the program.

4.1.2 Results
The majority (six out of seven) of the doctors showed reductions in burnout, psychological strain and negative affect following participation in the program. The qualitative data indicated that all doctors gained new skills: self‐awareness, reflection and self‐care. They also reported improved interaction with colleagues and patients, to whom they passed on their new learning.

4.1.3 Conclusion
This preliminary investigation of the effectiveness and feasibility of Mindful Self‐Care and Resiliency for rural doctors indicates that the program has promise in improving the emotional well‐being of this occupational group. Although this study captured approximately one‐third of the Emerald workforce, further research with a larger sample is required to confirm these findings.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Nursing
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Copyright: © 2020 National Rural Health Alliance Ltd.
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