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Using mindfulness interventions to help reduce physician burnout

As part of an assignment from our master teacher, Annie Carpenter, to create and deliver a free program for a population in need, one of my yoga-teacher friends designed a beautiful seva (service) project to benefit hospital workers. Doctors, nurses and administrative staff spend their careers taking care of others, my friend Allyson Pfeifer noted, often sacrificing rest, exercise, and much-needed time to themselves. And she found that while many hospitals supported yoga or meditation for patients and even their family members, few were open to dedicating space and resources to support similar programs for their staff. (Pfeifer's project wound up being adopted at Olive View - UCLA Medical Center under a new employee wellness program there.)

With this in mind, I was excited to see a pair of workshops being offered in New York that not only promote the well-being of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, but also help them to be more present, aware and compassionate in their duties at work. Given by the University of Rochester Medical Center, the workshops teach medical professionals tools to bring mindfulness into their work lives.

A recent post on the Arnold P. Gold Foundation's website notes that between 30 and 50 percent of physicians experience burnout, and some feel "overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do in the amount of time that is allotted." The Mindful Practice workshops focus on developing "attentiveness, situational awareness, self-awareness, teamwork and self-monitoring in stressful and demanding situations," the event website notes. Session topics include communicating with patients and families, managing difficult decisions, reducing errors, maintaining professionalism and attending to self-care needs.

Previously: Stanford establishes ‘banking system’ to help faculty balance their professional and personal lives, How mindfulness-based therapies can improve attention and health, Ommmmm… Mindfulness therapy appears to help prevent depression relapse and A closer look at depression and distress among medical students
Via @drmlb

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