The effectiveness of mindfulness meditation for nurses and nursing students: An integrated literature review

Nurse Educ Today. 2018 Jun:65:201-211. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2018.03.018. Epub 2018 Mar 24.


Background: A growing body of literature has identified a range of beneficial physiological and psychological outcomes from the regular practice of mindfulness meditation. For healthcare professionals, mindfulness meditation is claimed to reduce stress, anxiety and burnout, and enhance resilience.

Objective: The objective of this integrative review was to critically appraise the literature that related to the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation programs for nurses and nursing students.

Design: This review was conducted using Whittemore and Knafl's framework for integrated reviews.

Data sources: Using the terms mindfulness, mindfulness-based-stress reduction, Vipassana, nurses, and nurse education a comprehensive search of the following electronic databases was conducted: CINAHAL, Medline, PsycINFO, EMBASE. EMCARE, ERIC and SCOPUS.

Review methods: The initial search located 1703 articles. After screening and checking for eligibility 20 articles were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Program checklist for qualitative papers and McMaster's Critical appraisal form for quantitative papers. The final number of papers included in the review was 16.

Results: The results of this review identified that mindfulness meditation has a positive impact on nurses' and nursing students' stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, sense of well-being and empathy. However, the majority of the papers described small scale localised studies which limits generalisability.

Conclusion: Contemporary healthcare is challenging and complex. This review indicated that mindfulness meditation is an effective strategy for preventing and managing the workplace stress and burnout, which so often plague nursing staff and students. Further studies with larger sample sizes using rigorous research methods would be useful in extending this work.

Keywords: Meditation; Mindfulness; Nurse education; Nurses; Nursing students; Vipassana.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Depression / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Nurses / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Students, Nursing / psychology
  • Treatment Outcome*