The conference took place at the Chapin Mill Retreat Center in western New York, sponsored by the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Researchers at Rochester have been studying the effects that a mindful communication course can have on practicing primary care physicians. Their findings, now published, show that doctors who participate in such courses become more present, attentive and focused on the moment. They also become less emotionally exhausted over time, and are able to increasingly empathize with patients.
"Mindful communication is one way for practitioners to feel more 'in the game' and to find meaning in their practice," says Dr. Michael S. Krasner, an associate professior of clinical medicine at Rochester, and one of the study's authors.
Other studies have shown that as many as one in three doctors suffers from physician burnout. Loss of enthusiasm and engagement can lead to increased errors, decreased empathy and compassion toward patients, as well as poor professionalism.
To read the full article by Pauline W. Chen, M.D. in The New York Times, click here.
For more about the benefits of mindfulness in the health care system, read It pays to care… , The Healing Power of Mindfulness, and Physician, Know Thyself (a book review by Michael Krasner).