A Mindful Life in Medicine: One Pediatrician’s Reflections on Being Mindful
Mindfulness, defined as nonjudgmental present moment awareness, is a promising way to promote resiliency. Systematic mindfulness training has been found to regulate awareness, attention, and emotion, making way for cultivating both compassion and caring attitudes towards patients, colleagues, and self. In the course of reflecting on a series of patient encounters, this narrative shares one pediatrician’s perspective on the value of developing a personal mindfulness practice and its positive impact on patient-centered care and physician well-being. Practical suggestions are made to incorporate the principles of mindfulness into medical practice.
KeywordsMindfulness Mindful practice Reflection Art of medicine Physician self-care Physician well-being Burnout
The author would like to kindly acknowledge the following individuals and groups for their generosity of time, wisdom, spirit and funding that informed the development of this chapter: The Arthur-Vining-Davis Foundation, Jeffrey Brantley, MD, the Duke Children’s Healthy Lifestyles team, Duke Integrative Medicine faculty and staff, Meryl Kanfer, LCSW, Karen Kingsolver, PhD, John and Christy Mack, Javier Rodriguez, Genris Rumaldo, Silvia Valencia, the University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine Program with special thanks to Tieraona Low Dog, MD and Victoria Maizes, MD, and the patients and families that have allowed me to participate in their care and taught me many valuable lessons over the years.