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Physicians rating themselves as more mindful - nonjudgmentally attentive to their own experience, thoughts and feelings - have more patient-centered communication and more satisfied patients.
Measuring the mindfulness of 45 clinicians and later assessing the quality of their interactions with patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, researchers found mindful clinicians were more likely to be patient-centered in their communications, more positive in their emotional tone with patients and more likely to be rated highly on communication and overall satisfaction by patients.
The authors conclude mindfulness may be an important pathway to a more humanistic, effective and satisfying practice of medicine. The highly reciprocal influence of patients and clinicians on one another, they add, is in itself a powerful and positive medical tool - perhaps in some situations more powerful than other interventions that can be offered to patients. They call for future research to determine whether improving clinician mindfulness can also improve patient health outcomes.
A Multicenter Study of Physician Mindfulness and Health Care Quality
By Mary Catherine Beach, MD, MPH, et al
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
Given the pervasive problem of physician burnout and low job satisfaction and its negative influence on patient care, researchers evaluate the ability of a short mindfulness training program to increase job satisfaction, quality of life and compassion among 30 primary care clinicians.
In this uncontrolled pilot study, they find participating in a brief mindfulness course consisting of a weekend immersion along with two short follow-up evening sessions was associated with reduction in indicators of job burnout, depression, anxiety and stress on three follow-up surveys at one day, two months and nine months post-intervention.
Specifically, at nine months post-intervention, participants had significantly better scores on all Maslach Burnout Inventory subscales, emotional exhaustion (P=.009), depersonalization (P=.005), and personal accomplishment (P<.001), as well as on the depression (P=.001), anxiety (P=.006) and stress (P=.002) subscales of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21 and perceived stress (P=.002) assessed with the Perceived Stress Scale.
That the effect was maintained over nine months without formal intervention booster sessions suggests that even limited initial training may be sufficient in teaching fundamental mindfulness practices.
They conclude mindfulness training appears to be a low-cost, time-efficient tool to help support clinician health and well-being, which may have implications for patient care, and they call for a randomized controlled trial to confirm these promising results.
Abbreviated Mindfulness Intervention for Job Satisfaction, Quality of Life, and Compassion in Primary Care Clinicians: A Pilot Study
By Luke Fortney, MD, et al
Meriter Medical Group, Madison, Wis.
A family physician in Israel reflects on how the introduction of an employee time clock at the health maintenance organization where she works influences small everyday clinical decisions that affect the quality of care she provides her patients. She shares the mantra she routinely turns to with each hastened visit to reaffirm her professional integrity, pledging her allegiance first and foremost to her patients and her own standards of care.
Measuring Up: Musings of a Family Doctor on the Employee Time Clock
By Ruth Kannai, MD
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
September/October 2013 Annals of Family MedicineAmerican Academy of Family Physicians
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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American Academy of Family Physicians. "Mindful physicians have more satisfied patients, may have better job satisfaction and improved well-being." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Sep. 2013. Web.
8 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265944>
American Academy of Family Physicians. (2013, September 12). "Mindful physicians have more satisfied patients, may have better job satisfaction and improved well-being." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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