Training in mindfulness meditation can alleviate burnout experienced by many in the helping professions and improve their well-being, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers report.
The training also can expand a physician’s capacity to relate to patients and enhance patient-centered care, according to the researchers, led by Michael S. Krasner, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Medicine.”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,” Krasner said.
“Enhancing the capacity of the physician to experience fully the clinical encounter—not only its pleasant but also its most unpleasant aspects—without judgment but with a sense of curiosity and adventure seems to have had a profound effect on the experience of stress and burnout. It also seems to enhance the physician’s ability to connect with the patient as a unique human being and to center care around that uniqueness”
Seventy physicians from the Rochester, N.Y., area were involved in the study and training. The training involved eight intensive weekly sessions that were 2 ½ hours long, an all-day session and a maintenance phase of 10 monthly 2 ½-hour sessions.
Edward A. Stehlik, M.D., of the New York branch of the American College of Physicians and an internist who practices near Buffalo, said the training was “the most useful thing I’ve done since my medical training to help me in my practice of medicine.”
“If you asked my patients, I think they would say I listen more carefully since the training and that they feel they can explain things to me more forthrightly and more easily,” Stehlik said. “Even the brief moments with patients are more productive. Are there doctors who desperately need this training? Yes, absolutely.”
ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2009)