Stress Resilience Program for Health Care Professionals During a Pandemic: A Pilot Program

Ivana T. Croghan, Ryan T. Hurt, Shawn C. Fokken, Karen M. Fischer, Stephanie A. Lindeen, Darrell R. Schroeder, Ravindra Ganesh, Karthik Ghosh, Nina Bausek, Brent A Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased burnout and staff turnover for health care providers (HCPs). The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the safety and acceptability of a Stress Resilience Program (SRP) for reducing perceived stress and improving resilience among HCPs during a pandemic. Method: Of the 12 HCPs expressing interest in the study, 10 were enrolled in this study. Participants attended three in-person visits (consent/screen, baseline, and end-of-study). The SRP consisted of education related to resilience enhancement and a breathing device (BreatherFit®) for combined respiratory muscle training (cRMT). Participants completed 4 weeks of cRMT and applied situational breathing strategies as needed. Outcomes measured were changes in stress (PSS-10), resilience (BRS), depression (PRIME-MD), and sleep (PSQI and Ōura Ring®). Findings: The majority of participants were male (60%) and White (60%) with an average age of 39.7 years. Changes from baseline to end-of-treatment indicated a positive trend with significant stress reduction (−3.2 ± 3.9, p =.028) and nonsignificant depression reduction (−0.5 ± 0.7, p =.05). Resilience was high at baseline and continued to stay high during the study with a nonsignificant increase at end-of-study (+0.07 ± 0.7, p =.77). No changes in overall sleep scores were noted. All participants agreed the study was worthwhile, 80% indicated they would repeat the experience, while 90% indicated they would recommend the study to others. Conclusion/Application to Practice: Because of its size and portability, SRP is an easily applicable and promising option for reducing stress among HCPs during a high-stress period, such as a pandemic. Larger studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorkplace Health and Safety
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • health care provider
  • respiratory muscle training
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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