Journal Article

Making time and space: the impact of mindfulness training on nursing and midwifery practice. A Critical Interpretative Synthesis


Aims and Objectives: to explore qualitative literature to ascertain whether and how nurses and midwives perceive that mindfulness impacts on their practice, particularly their interactions with patients. Background: Stress and burnout, which negatively impact patient care, are widely reported among nurses and midwives, who face unique stressors as professionals who often hold little organisational power but are expected to shoulder the burden of resource cuts and an increasingly complex workload. Mindfulness is increasingly used as a tool to decrease stress and burnout in health professionals, and may also increase practitioner compassion and improve patient interactions. Design: a critical interpretative synthesis. Methods: a systematic search was undertaken to identify qualitative studies where the majority of participants were qualified nurses and/or midwives who had attended mindfulness training. Retrieved literature was read and re-read to identify relevant material, which was then coded into themes. Related themes were grouped into synthetic constructs, and a synthetic argument was produced to illustrate the relationships between these. Results: five relevant papers were identified. Findings indicate that mindfulness training enables nurses and midwives to gain some control over their thoughts and stress levels. This then creates a quiet mental space giving them agency and perspective and leading to improved caring, including a more patient-centred focus and increased presence and listening. Mindfulness appears to alter the way nurses and midwives operate within a stressful work environment, thereby changing the way the environment is experienced by themselves and, potentially, the people in their care. Conclusions: Further research is needed, but current qualitative research suggests mindfulness may enable nurses and midwives to work with compassion in stressful and demanding work environments. Relevance to clinical practice: Mindfulness may offer an enabling way of coping with stress, in contrast to longstanding strategies such as task-orientation and depersonalisation.

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Hunter, L

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health


Year of publication: 2016
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-01-10

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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