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Mindful meditation, shared dialogues reduce physician burnout
Date:9/23/2009

Training in mindfulness meditation and communication can alleviate the psychological distress and burnout experienced by many physicians and can improve their well-being, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers report in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The training also can expand a physician's capacity to relate to patients and enhance patient-centered care, according to the researchers, who were 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 already inherent capacity of the physician to experience fully the clinical encounternot only its pleasant but also its most unpleasant aspectswithout 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.

"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," he said.

Edward A. Stehlik, M.D., governor of the Upstate 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 t
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Contact: Michael Wentzel
Michael_Wentzel@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-1309
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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