ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Training in mindfulness meditation and communication can alleviate the psychological stress and burnout experienced by many physicians, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Michael S. Krasner, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York who was the study leader, says the training can also expand a physician's capacity to relate to patients and enhance patient-centered care.
Mindful communication utilizes the techniques of meditation to help people maintain an open and non-judgmental outlook as they tackle everyday tasks, Krasner explains.
"From the patient's perspective, we hear all too often of dissatisfaction in the quality of presence from their physician," Krasner said in a statement. "From the practitioner's perspective, the opportunity for deeper connection is all too often missed in the stressful, complex and chaotic reality of medical practice."
Seventy physicians from Rochester, N.Y., completed a series of assessment surveys designed to measure burnout and empathy, characterize beliefs about patient care, personality and mood.
The training involved eight intensive weekly sessions that were 2.5 hours long, an all-day session and a maintenance phase of 10 monthly 2.5-hour sessions.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found the trained primary care physicians experienced improved well-being, including significant decreases in burnout and mood disturbance, while empathy increased.