Mindful meditation could curb physician burnout
New research from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that mindful meditation and communication could help physician burnout. The study, led by Michael S. Krasner, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Medicine, showed that meditation could increase well-being among physicians who experience high levels of psychological stress, and at the same time facilitate patient centered care.
Dr. Krasner says, "From the patient's perspective, we hear all too often of dissatisfaction in the quality of presence from their physician. From the practitioner's perspective, the opportunity for deeper connection is all too often missed in the stressful, complex, and chaotic reality of medical practice." The study showed that training in mindful meditation can lead to satisfaction for physicians
Krasner suggests that programs that teach meditation and mindfulness can help reduce physician burnout by enhancing encounters with patients. He suggests physicians can communicate during clinical encounters “without judgment but with a sense of curiosity and adventure seems to have had a profound effect on the experience of stress and burnout.”
Mindful communication with other physicians has the added benefit of reducing feeling of isolation experienced by physicians. "Cultivating these qualities of mindful communication with colleagues, anectodotally, had an unexpected benefit of combating the practitioners' sense of isolation and brought forth the very experiences that are such a rich source of meaning in the life of the clinician," explains Dr. Krasner.
The study authors cite high levels of reported burnout among physicians. The result is poor quality of care, inability to remain empathetic, substance abuse, automobile accidents, marital problems, and poor health for physicians. Mindfulness training can help physicians by renewing satisfaction with patient interactions, while making them more aware of their own reactions to patients.
For the study, seventy physicians filled out questionnaires measuring their level of burnout. They engaged in an eight intense weekly sessions, two and a half hours long, followed by ten more two and half hour sessions once a month. Training was also conducted for an entire day.
Participant John K. Chamberlain, M.D., an internist and pediatrician in the Rochester area said he felt "refreshed and satisfied about being a physician" after taking the program that teaches awareness.
The study shows that training in mindful meditation can curb physician burnout, and bring about better quality of patient care. The mindfulness training model could “help provide growth and sustenance to physicians in the service of promoting excellence in clinical care and professional satisfaction and well-being”, write the authors.
Source: URMC Newsroom
Written by Kathleen Blanchard RN
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