Healthcare professionals’ experiences of using mindfulness training in a cardiology department: a qualitative study

Randi Karkov Knudsen*, Trine Gregersen, Jette Ammentorp, Charlotte Gad Tousig, Connie Timmermann

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective and Aim: Person-centred communication and healthcare professionals’ ability to be attentively present in their encounter with patients are essential aspects of patients’ experiences of well-being, ability to cope with illness-related challenges and feelings of being recognised. However, the ability to be attentive in relational encounters can be challenging for healthcare staff for many reasons, such as time constraints and a high work pace. Research suggests that mindfulness training could increase staff attentiveness and compassion, but only few qualitative studies have explored the subject. The aim of the current study was to explore doctors’ and nurses’ individual experiences of how attending an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) influenced their clinical practice and encounters with colleagues and patients in a cardiology department. Method: Qualitative interviews were held with six doctors and nurses who had completed the 8-week MBSR course. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to explore and understand the meaning of the participants’ accounts. Findings: The MBSR course appeared to have changed the healthcare professionals’ thoughts and actions, especially regarding their ability to stay focused on the task at hand, to prioritise and to stay calm in an unpredictable and busy work environment. This was facilitated by using concrete techniques learned during the course, such as breathing and taking small breaks to clear their heads and help them be attentive in relation to themselves, colleagues and patients. Furthermore, they described an increased acceptance of their own limitations, better understanding of their colleagues and greater awareness of the unique patient. Conclusion: These findings suggest that changing healthcare professionals’ actions, mindset, awareness and understanding of others may result in a more compassionate work environment and more person-centred care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)892-900
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • attentiveness
  • caring
  • compassion
  • doctors
  • interpretative phenomenological analysis
  • interviews
  • mindfulness-based stress reduction
  • nurses
  • person-centred care


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