Objective: Because physicians and nurses are commonly stressed, Bispectral Index™ (BIS) neurofeedback, following trainer instructions, was used to learn to lower the electroencephalography-derived BIS value, indicating that a state of receptive awareness (relaxed alertness) had been achieved.
Results: Ten physicians/nurses participated in 21 learning days with 9 undergoing ≤ 3 days. The BIS-nadir for the 21 days was decreased (88.7) compared to baseline (97.0; p < 0.01). From 21 wellbeing surveys, moderately-to-extremely rated stress responses were a feeling of irritation 38.1%; nervousness 14.3%; over-reacting 28.6%; tension 66.7%; being overwhelmed 38.1%; being drained 38.1%; and people being too demanding 52.4% (57.1% had ≥ 2 stress indicators). Quite a bit-to-extremely rated positive-affect responses were restful sleep 28.6%; energetic 0%; and alert 47.6% (90.5% had ≥ 2 positive-affect responses rated as slightly-to-moderately). For 1 subject who underwent 4 learning days, mean BIS was lower on day 4 (95.1) than on day 1 (96.8; p < 0.01). The wellbeing score increased 23.3% on day 4 (37) compared to day 1 (30). Changes in BIS values provide evidence that brainwave self-regulation can be learned and may manifest with wellbeing. These findings suggest that stress and impairments in positive-affect are common in physicians/nurses. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03152331. Registered May 15, 2017.
Keywords: BIS monitor; Bispectral Index; Mindfulness; Neurofeedback; Nurses; Physicians; Stress.