PCPs have less stress, less burnout from an abbreviated mindfulness course

primary care physician

This post is part of our series of Research Roundups — a list of recently published studies on humanism in medicine. Here are this week’s picks:

Abbreviated mindfulness intervention for job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in primary care clinicians: a pilot study
Fortney L, Luchterhand C, Zakletskaia L, Zgierska A, Rakel D.

Ann Fam Med. 2013 Sep-Oct;11(5):412-20.
When primary care physicians participated in an abbreviated mindfulness training course, they showed reductions in indicators of job burnout, depression, anxiety, and stress at all three follow-up points: 1 day, 8 weeks, and 9 months post-intervention.

Correlates of physician burnout across regions and specialties: a meta-analysis
Lee RT, Seo B, Hladkyj S, Lovell BL, Schwartzmann L.
Hum Resour Health. 2013 Sep 28;11(1):48. [Epub ahead of print]

Emotional exhaustion was “negatively associated with autonomy, positive work attitudes, and quality and safety culture. It was positively associated with workload, constraining organizational structure, incivility/conflicts/violence, low quality and safety standards, negative work attitudes, work-life conflict, and contributors to poor mental health.”

A medical student elective promoting humanism, communication skills, complementary and alternative medicine and physician self-care: An evaluation of the HEART Program
Dossett ML, Kohatsu W, Nunley W, Mehta D, Davis RB, Phillips RS, Yeh G.

Explore (NY). 2013 Sep-Oct;9(5):292-8. 
Alumni of this program felt the elective taught professionalism, helped them with communication skills, helped them cope with  stress during residency training and improved their ability to empathize and connect with patients.

Changes in medical student and doctor attitudes toward older adults after an intervention: A systematic review
Samra R, Griffiths A, Cox T, Conroy S, Knight A.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Jul;61(7):1188-96. Epub 2013 Jun 10. Review

Researchers reviewed 27 intervention studies, 11 that contained only knowledge-building content and 16 that contained an empathy-building component, such as an aging simulation exercise or contact with a healthy older adult.  The empathy-building interventions were much more successful as demonstrating positive attitude change.
Brandy King

This post was written by Brandy King, Head of Information Services at The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute