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)
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalWorkplace Health and Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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