Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Sara Bressi, PhD.

Second Advisor

Andrea Doyle, PhD.

Third Advisor

Nancy Hanrahan, PhD.


The Experience of Burnout of Inpatient Psychiatric Nurses: Promoting Trauma Informed Care and Examining Mindfulness as a Means for Improved Patient Safety and Nurse Well-Being

Article #1: Promoting Trauma Informed Care to Lesson Burnout and Promote Patient Safety among Psychiatric Nurses.

Article #2: Exploring the Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Psychoeducational Intervention on Burnout among Inpatient Psychiatric Nurses: A Pilot Study.

Donna M. Wampole

Chair: Sara Bressi, PhD, LSW

Individuals undergoing inpatient psychiatric care experience a variety of distresses caused by multiple diagnostic symptoms and prior traumatic experiences. Receiving care on an inpatient unit can be a distressful experience for those in need and the inpatient care setting is often a trigger for old or ongoing trauma responses. Inpatient psychiatric nurses make up the majority of front-line staff working directly with patients and can reflect the care and comfort needed for mitigating the effects of trauma. As such, inpatient units functioning under the lens of Trauma Informed Care (TIC) can provide the greatest of care to patients with attunement to the causes and continuation of traumatic experiences while focusing on ongoing patient safety.

Intertwined with the focus of patient safety and comfort that Trauma Informed Care lends, exists also a focus on the needs of providers, including nurses. Inpatient psychiatric nurses provide highly interpersonal patient care that requires significant emotional labor. This care is embedded in organizational contexts characterized by numerous workplace stressors including a lack of adequate professional nurse staffing and resources and challenged managerial and inter-nurse support all of which can lead to burnout. Extensive research is present in the literature examining the concept of burnout in the general population, human services, and more specifically, the field of nursing. Despite this existence, little research has been undertaken examining the experience of burnout specific to inpatient-employed psychiatric nurses.

This two-article dissertation addresses the link between the benefits of utilizing Trauma-Informed Care in inpatient psychiatric units in addition to mindfulness skills for the combined purpose of attending to and mitigating the experience of burnout in inpatient-employed psychiatric nurses. The first article addresses the proposed benefits of Trauma-Informed Care and calls to action the expansion of TIC; namely TIC's focus on improved workforce development, as a means to improve nurse burnout and patient safety. The second article reports on a mixed-method research study that examined burnout among nurses employed at a hospital-based inpatient psychiatric unit, and the benefits of participation in a mindfulness skills intervention.

Degree Type:


Degree Name:

Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor:

Sara Bressi, PhD

Second Advisor:

Andrea Doyle, PhD

Third Advisor:

Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN FAAN

Key Words:

burnout, mindfulness, psychiatric nursing, trauma-informed care.

Subject Categories:

Psychiatric Nursing, Social Work