Friday, April 27, 2012
MINDFUL DOCTORS MAKE BETTER DOCTORS
Training medical practitioners in mindfulness meditation and communication skills can improve the quality of primary care for both practitioners and their patients.
University of Rochester researchers, reporting findings in the journal Academic Medicine, also recommend promoting a sense of community among medical practitioners and providing time to doctors for personal growth.
The Academic Medicine article, which will be published in the journal’s June 2012 print edition, is a follow-up to a study by the researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009. That study found that mindfulness meditation and communication training can alleviate the psychological distress and burnout experienced by many physicians and can improve their well-being.
'Programs focused on personal awareness and self-development are only part of the solution,' the researchers note. 'Our health care delivery systems must implement systematic change at the practice level to create an environment that supports mindful practice, encourages transparent and clear communication among clinicians, staff, patients, and families, and reduces professional isolation.'
Sixty per cent of doctors engaged in the study reported that learning mindfulness skills improved their capacity to listen more attentively and respond more effectively to others at work and home. In addition, more than half of the participants acknowledged having increased self-awareness and better ability to respond non-judgmentally during personal or professional conversations.
The research was supported by the Physicians Foundation.
Read the original study DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318253d3b2