The Healthcare Entrepreneur Blog

Avoiding burnout by practicing mindfulness

by Sarah Leigh | April 26th, 2012 | No responses

I read relevant, interesting articles everyday that I wish I had time to share on The Healthcare Entrepreneur. I bookmarked one a while back on the NY Times Well Blog about something that a lot of us could practice more of in our personal lives—mindfulness.

In her short article, Teaching Doctors to be Mindful, Doctor Pauline Chen reports from a mindful communication training conference, held in October at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center in western New York, sponsored by the University of Rochester Medical Center. The purpose? To bring intention, attention and reflection to clinical practice.

Doctor Chen notes that there has been a growing awareness amongst medical professionals that “being mindful, or fully present and attentive to the moment, not only improves the way they engage with patients but also mitigates the stresses of clinical practice.”

Physician burnout has been cited in nearly one out of three physicians. It’s hard to separate those stresses when you walk into a room to focus on a patient, causing work to become emotionally exhaustive. To combat the physician fallout, University of Rochester researchers studied the effects of a yearlong course for practicing primary care physicians in mindful communication. Docs who took part were less exhausted over time, and felt more present and focused with their patients. Their findings were reported in The Journal of The American Medical Association.

“Mindful communication is one way for practitioners to feel more ‘in the game’ and to find meaning in their practice,” said Dr. Michael S. Krasner, an associate professor of clinical medicine at Rochester and one of the study authors.

Practicing mindfulness could be a good idea for all of us, no matter the profession. What do you think?

Sarah Leigh
Sarah Leigh is a graphic designer with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a nationwide healthcare consulting and management firm located in Bend, OR and Denver, CO. Sarah specializes in branding, web design and strategy, idea-making, and marketing. She is available via the Vantage Clinical Solutions website.