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Mantra meditation programme for emergency department staff: a qualitative study
  1. Julie Lynch1,
  2. Lucia Prihodova1,
  3. Pádraic J Dunne2,
  4. Caoimhe O’Leary1,
  5. Rachel Breen1,
  6. Áine Carroll3,
  7. Cathal Walsh4,
  8. Geraldine McMahon5,
  9. Barry White1,2,6
  1. 1 Research Department, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, St James’ Hospital Campus, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3 Clinical Strategy and Programmes Division, Health Service Executive, Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4 Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
  5. 5 Department of Emergency Medicine, St James' Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  6. 6 National Coagulation Centre, St James' Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Julie Lynch; lynchju{at}


Objectives Rates of burnout and stress in healthcare practitioners are steadily increasing. Emergency department (ED) staff are particularly susceptible to such poor outcomes. Mantra meditation (MM) may contribute to increased well-being. The primary aim of this study was to obtain indepth qualitative feedback on ED staff’s experience of a MM programme. A secondary objective was to harness staff’s perception of the ED working environment.

Design Qualitative study.

Setting ED in St James’ Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

Participants Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and administrative staff (n=10, eight women, mean age 35.6 years) working in the ED who attended a MM programme.

Methods Semistructured interviews were conducted by a trained independent researcher. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed.

Results Five main themes and six subthemes were identified: work pressure and perceived stress; perceived benefits of meditation (with subthemes of increased attention/awareness, improved emotion regulation and new coping mechanisms, relaxation and sleep quality); conflicting attitudes to practice; barriers to meditation practice (with subthemes of schedule, length of practice and individual differences); and facilitators to practice.

Conclusion ED staff in this study described the demands of their work and voiced a need for a workplace well-being programme. Our findings suggest that MM might represent a viable tool to develop attention and awareness, improve emotion regulation and improve their capacity to cope with stress, which may impact their workplace well-being, wider health service, patient safety and quality of care. Support from the organisation is considered to be integral to embedding of a workplace well-being programme, such as the practice of meditation into their daily lives.

  • mantra
  • meditation
  • healthcare professionals
  • emergency medicine
  • wellbeing
  • qualitative research

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  • Contributors CO’L, RB, BW, LP, PJD, GM, CW and AC were involved in conceiving and designing the study. Data collection was carried out by CO’L. JL and LP were responsible for data analysis and interpretation. JL wrote the first draft of the manuscript. CO’L, RB, BW, LP, PJD, GM, CW and AC contributed to subsequent drafts and were involved in the critical revision of the article for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version of the article to be published.

  • Funding This research was sponsored by the Health Service Executive.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Institutional ethics committee approval was in place (Tallaght Hospital/St James' Hospital Joint Research Ethics Committee).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement As per the ethics approval, the data will not be shared outside of the participating research institutions. Any sharing of the data beyond the group will be subject to review by the host institution (Royal College of Physicians of Ireland) and to independent research ethics application. Any queries on how to access the data set should be directed to the corresponding author or