Mindful Practice workshops help physicians experiencing burnout

BalanceBetween 30% and 50% of physicians feel “burned out”
, depending on their specialty.  This is a serious problem affecting healthcare since those experiencing burnout provide poorer care than those who are resilient and self-aware.  Many doctors, nurses and other healthcare professional say they are overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do in the amount of time that is allotted.  This stress can lead to a loss of compassion and even to errors affecting patient safety.

Few interventions have been proven to reverse burnout, but research from the University of Rochester has shown that mindfulness interventions are effective in helping physicians regain their empathy for patients and become less emotionally exhausted over time.

The study’s authors, Dr. Ron Epstein and Dr. Mich Krasner, are leading two upcoming Mindful Practice workshops. Epstein remarks:

At these courses I have the privilege of witnessing participants wake up to their sense of purpose as physician-healers. By exploring and sharing their own inner experience of the most challenging moments in health care, they develop resilience, compassion and fearless presence grounded in self-awareness. They bring home with them the capacity to develop similar programs at other institutions. Nothing can be more exciting.

For registration and more information about these workshops:

  • Session I: October 9-12, 2013  Designed for those who have not previously attended a mindful practice workshop.
  • Session II: May 7-10, 2014  Advanced mindful communication skills, hands-on experience in facilitation, and attention to promoting mindful practice activities at participants’ home institutions.

Designed for medical practitioners (physicians, NPs, PAs), these retreat-like workshops offer an experiential learning environment, with a focus on developing  the capacity for mindful practice – attentiveness, situational awareness, self-awareness, teamwork and self-monitoring in stressful and demanding situations. Session themes include communication with patients/families, difficult decisions, errors, professionalism, medical education, self-care and burnout.

One participant reflected:

One of the things that comes out of this is that when you establish a practice of thinking more honestly, thinking more clearly, speaking more honestly, that definitely leaks out into your work every day. It certainly opens you up to being more ready with patients, colleagues, and family, to have … a more intimate, more honest interaction with people…. That certainly was the case for me that came out in the rest of my work. It certainly made it much more immediate and easy to do in [my] practice.


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