The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques on nurses' stress, anxiety, and burnout levels during the COVID-19 pandemic: A randomized controlled trial

Explore (NY). 2021 Mar-Apr;17(2):109-114. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2020.11.012. Epub 2020 Dec 3.


Background and objective: Infectious disease outbreaks pose psychological challenges to the general population, and especially to healthcare workers. Nurses who work with COVID-19 patients are particularly vulnerable to emotions such as fear and anxiety, due to fatigue, discomfort, and helplessness related to their high intensity work. This study aims to investigate the efficacy of a brief online form of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) in the prevention of stress, anxiety, and burnout in nurses involved in the treatment of COVID patients.

Methods: The study is a randomized controlled trial. It complies with the guidelines prescribed by the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) checklist. It was conducted in a COVID-19 department at a university hospital in Turkey. We recruited nurses who care for patients infected with COVID-19 and randomly allocated them into an intervention group (n = 35) and a no-treatment control group (n = 37). The intervention group received one guided online group EFT session.

Results: Reductions in stress (p < .001), anxiety (p < .001), and burnout (p < .001) reached high levels of statistical significance for the intervention group. The control group showed no statistically significant changes on these measures (p > .05).

Conclusions: A single online group EFT session reduced stress, anxiety, and burnout levels in nurses treating COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture Points*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control*
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology
  • Burnout, Professional / therapy
  • COVID-19
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet-Based Intervention*
  • Male
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult