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Anxiety, Auricular acupuncture, Engagement, Stress



  1. Buchanan, Teresa M. MBA, RN
  2. Reilly, Patricia M. MSN, RN
  3. Vafides, Carol MAc, LicAc
  4. Dykes, Patricia PhD, MA, RN, FAAN, FACMI


Background: Stress and anxiety are experienced by health care providers as a consequence of caregiving and may result in physical, emotional, and psychological outcomes that negatively impact work engagement.


Aim: The purpose of this study was to determine whether auricular acupuncture can reduce provider anxiety and improve work engagement.


Methods: Study participants received 5 auricular acupuncture sessions within a 16-week period utilizing the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association protocol for treating emotional trauma. Each participant completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9) prior to their first session and again after their fifth treatment.


Results: Significant reductions were found in state and trait anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), as well as significant increases in the overall scores on the UWES as compared with baseline. Only the dedication subcategory of the UWES showed significant improvement.


Conclusions: Engagement has been linked to increased productivity and well-being and improved patient and organizational outcomes. Providing effective strategies such as auricular acupuncture to support health care providers in reducing anxiety in the workplace may improve engagement.