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Can we prepare healthcare professionals and students for involvement in stressful healthcare events? Feasibility study of a resilience training intervention

Johnson, Judith and Simms-Ellis, Ruth and Janes, Gillian and Mills, Thomas and Budworth, Luke and Atkinson, Lauren and Harrison, Reema (2020) Can we prepare healthcare professionals and students for involvement in stressful healthcare events? Feasibility study of a resilience training intervention. BMC Health Services Research. ISSN 1472-6963

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Abstract

Background Healthcare professionals are experiencing unprecedented levels of occupational stress and burnout. Higher stress and burnout in health professionals is linked with the delivery of poorer quality, less safe patient care across healthcare settings. In order to understand how we can better support healthcare professionals in the workplace, this study evaluated a tailored resilience coaching intervention comprising a workshop and one-to-one coaching session addressing the intrinsic challenges of healthcare work in health professionals and students. Methods The evaluation used an uncontrolled before-and-after design with four data-collection time points: baseline (T1); after the workshop (T2); after the coaching session (T3) and four-to-six weeks post-baseline (T4). Quantitative outcome measures were Confidence in Coping with Adverse Events (‘Confidence’), a Knowledge assessment (‘Knowledge’) and Resilience. At T4, qualitative interviews were also conducted with a subset of participants exploring participant experiences and perceptions of the intervention. Results We recruited 66 participants, retaining 62 (93.9%) at T2, 47 (71.2%) at T3, and 33 (50%) at T4. Compared with baseline, Confidence was significantly higher post-intervention: T2 (unadj. β = 2.43, 95% CI 2.08–2.79, d = 1.55, p < .001), T3 (unadj. β = 2.81, 95% CI 2.42–3.21, d = 1.71, p < .001) and T4 (unadj. β = 2.75, 95% CI 2.31–3.19, d = 1.52, p < .001). Knowledge increased significantly post-intervention (T2 unadj. β = 1.14, 95% CI 0.82–1.46, d = 0.86, p < .001). Compared with baseline, resilience was also higher post-intervention (T3 unadj. β = 2.77, 95% CI 1.82–3.73, d = 0.90, p < .001 and T4 unadj. β = 2.54, 95% CI 1.45–3.62, d = 0.65, p < .001). The qualitative findings identified four themes. The first addressed the ‘tension between mandatory and voluntary delivery’, suggesting that resilience is a mandatory skillset but it may not be effective to make the training a mandatory requirement. The second, the ‘importance of experience and reference points for learning’, suggested the intervention was more appropriate for qualified staff than students. The third suggested participants valued the ‘peer learning and engagement’ they gained in the interactive group workshop. The fourth, ‘opportunities to tailor learning’, suggested the coaching session was an opportunity to personalise the workshop material. Conclusions We found preliminary evidence that the intervention was well received and effective, but further research using a randomised controlled design will be necessary to confirm this.

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