Date Presented 04/21/2023

This pilot study evaluated the feasibility of a virtual mindfulness program, Mindfulness at Work, and embedded strategies to address burnout among OT practitioners. Preliminary results are encouraging.

Primary Author and Speaker: Susan Persia

Contributing Authors: Amy Carroll

Job burnout affects many occupational therapy practitioners, impacting clinician well-being and client outcomes (Luken & Sammons, 2016; Poulsen et al., 2014). Mindfulness is a recognized approach to managing stress; however, traditional mindfulness programs may be time-prohibitive (Luken & Sammons, 2016; Zeman & Harvison, 2017).

PURPOSE: This pilot study evaluated the effectiveness and feasibility of a virtual mindfulness program, Mindfulness at Work, and the strategies taught in the program.

DESIGN: Participants met for a once-weekly synchronous virtual session over three weeks, where they learned informal mindfulness strategies. Participants practiced the strategies during work and discussed successes and barriers during subsequent sessions.

METHOD: In this single-group design, the Oldenburg Burnout Measure measured burnout levels before and after program participation. Feasibility measures, administered at the end of the program, measured the acceptability, appropriateness, and feasibility of the program and informal mindfulness strategies.

RESULTS: A Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed that Mindfulness at Work elicited a statistically significant change in OLBI scores (Z = -2.604, p = 0.009). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze each feasibility outcome (acceptability, appropriateness, feasibility), including group means (M) and standard deviation (SD). Participants rated the program and strategies as acceptable, appropriate, and feasible.

CONCLUSION: Preliminary results support the use of this program and strategies to address burnout in occupational therapy practitioners. This work was completed in partial fulfillment for the doctoral degree in occupational therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2021). Statement on clinician well-being and resilience.

Luken, M., & Sammons, A. (2016). Systematic review of mindfulness practice for reducing job burnout. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(2), 7002250020p1–7002250020p10.

Poulsen, A. A., Meredith, P., Khan, A., Henderson, J., Castrisos, V., & Khan, S. R. (2014). Burnout and work engagement in occupational therapists. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(3), 156–164.

Zeman, E.A., & Harvison, N. (2017). Burnout, stress, and compassion fatigue in occupational therapy practice and education: A call for mindful, self-care protocols [Commentary]. National Academy of Medicine Perspectives, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. Retrieved from doi:10.31478/201703g