Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022

Date of Final Presentation


Committee Chair

Teresa Serratt, Ph.D. R.N.

Committee Member

Deena Rauch, D.N.P., R.N., NEA-BC, CENP, EBP (CH), FACHE

Coordinator/ Chair of DNP Program

Pamela Gerhke, Ed.D., RN, DNP

Abstract/ Executive Summary

Nursing burnout, categorized by increased emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DE), or decreased personal achievement (PA), is rising in the United States. Emergency Department (ED) nurses at an academic medical center in the western United States experience burnout related to workplace violence and trauma exposure exacerbated by a global pandemic. Burnout can lead to adverse health impacts for nurses, increased institutional costs, and adverse patient outcomes.

Improving mindfulness or awareness of the present can reduce burnout in ED nurses. A mindfulness pilot project was conducted with staff nurses (n=20) and nurse leaders (n=4) in the ED. Participants attended Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes for eight weeks and practiced mindfulness outside of class. The impact of MBSR was measured before and after the pilot using the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire Short Form and Maslach Burnout Inventory for Medical Personnel. Overall, ED staff nurses experienced an 11% improvement in mindfulness, a 1% decrease in EE, a 6% decrease in DE, and a 10% increase in PA. ED nurse leaders experienced a 7% improvement in mindfulness, 14% reduction in EE, 36% decrease in DE, and 4% improvement in PA.

This pilot project suggests that MBSR is an effective way to increase mindfulness and reduce burnout. Engagement with MBSR classes and participation in mindfulness activities outside of class improved mindfulness and reduced burnout among participants. Due to the promising outcome, this work is recommended to be repeated in the ED setting and expanded to other high-stress environments.


It indeed took both resilience or grit and the support of my faculty, colleagues, and family to complete this work.

I want to thank my husband Terry and daughter Shaylee for their love, encouragement, and support. I also want to express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Teresa Serratt for her guidance and wisdom when I most needed it.

Finally, I dedicate this to all the nurses who give of themselves to improve the lives of others.