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Mindfulness training beneficial for clinicians, patients

From Medical Xpress

nurse-meditating-on-the-beachMindfulness training is associated with improvements in physician burnout; and, clinicians who rate themselves as more mindful engage in more patient-centered communication, according to two studies published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Luke Fortney, M.D., from the Meriter Medical Group in Madison, Wis., and colleagues assessed job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in a group of 30 primary care clinicians who participated in an abbreviated mindfulness course. The researchers found that, compared with baseline, participants had improvements at one day, eight weeks, and nine months post-intervention. At the nine-month post-intervention follow-up, significantly better scores were recorded on all Maslach Burnout Inventory burnout subscales; on the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress subscales of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21; and on perceived stress based on the Perceived Stress Scale.

Mary Catherine Beach, M.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted an observational study involving 45 clinicians who completed the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale and who cared for 437 HIV-infected patients at four HIV specialty clinics. The researchers found that patient visits with clinicians in the highest versus the lowest tertile of mindfulness scores were more likely to be characterized by a patient-centered pattern of communication (odds ratio, 4.14), in which clinicians and patients engaged in more rapport building and discussion of psychosocial issues. With high-mindfulness clinicians, patients were more likely to give high ratings on clinician communication and to report high overall satisfaction.

“Interventions should determine whether improving clinician mindfulness can also improve patient health outcomes,” Beach and colleagues write.

Read the full study here

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