Breaking Burnout: How daily mindfulness can break the cycle of clinician burnout and restore passion within the pediatric treatment environment.

Gretchen Blackmer, Bank Street College of Education


Caregiver burnout is a common condition that impacts clinicians, patients, and institutions, across all healthcare service lines. Caregivers who serve patients and families directly, including Child Life Specialists, have been found to hold a greater risk of burnout, due to the increased stress and potential for vicarious trauma that exists in the daily responsibilities this position demands (Moody, 2014). Clinicians just entering the Child Life profession, as well as those with only a few short years in the field, have been identified as being especially susceptible to experiencing burnout (Kemper).

Despite the common nature of burnout, complex and long-held cultural barriers within the healthcare profession derer many clinicians from seeking support (Lewis-Hatheway, 2018). Yet, some high-reliability healthcare systems have begun to recognize and respond to this need; both for the well-being of their clinicians, as well as for that of their patients and the institution as a whole. Many of these systems have found positive outcomes from the incorporation of mindfulness strategies as a therapeutic intervention to alleviate caregiver burnout and support healing (Gilmartin, Goyal,Hamati, Mann, Saint, & Chopra, 2017, p. 4).

Of the mindfulness interventions provided by healthcare systems to their clinicians currently, most contain additional barriers for use, such as time, complexity of concept, required equipment, and affordability. This investigation proposes a simple alternative mindfulness strategy to support caregivers; one that is available for use immediately and can be engaged with independently during a clinician’s workday.