Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Medical students taught meditation techniques to prevent burnout and improve care

October 31, 2013
Doctors commonly tell patients that stress can be harmful to their health. Yet when it comes to reducing their own stress levels, physicians don't always heed their own advice.

Part of the problem, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, is that medical schools don't include meditation and stress-reduction training in their curriculum. However, for the past three years all third-year students at Wake Forest Baptist have been provided guided relaxation and mindfulness meditation training known as Applied Relaxation and Applied Mindfulness (ARAM), thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The training is described in the fall issue of the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education.

Studies estimate that 20 to 60 percent of physicians experience burnout at some time during their careers. This level of distress and strain can have a significant influence on the quality of care that doctors provide. It can also decrease empathy and compassion for patients and increase the likelihood of medical errors, said William McCann, Psy.D., associate professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the paper.

"Research has repeatedly shown that mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques can help moderate the influence of stress," McCann said. "In every stress-management program either mindfulness or relaxation is always included to decrease both the mental and physical wear and tear caused by stress."

The goal of the Wake Forest Baptist training was threefold: to help familiarize future doctors with techniques recommended in many medical treatment plans for patients; to reduce stress and prevent professional burnout; and to enhance performance by improving working memory and empathy and by moderating performance anxiety.

The ARAM training was composed of three sessions integrated into the third-year family medicine clerkship. According to McCann, 90 percent of the students found the class beneficial.

"The practice of medicine is a stressful challenge even for our best and brightest students," McCann said. "The rate of burnout among doctors is sobering and every medical school needs to include stress-management training in their curriculums."

Wake Forest Baptist is one of only a few medical schools in the United States to include mindfulness or relaxation training in its curriculum, McCann said.

###

Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration grant #D56HP20779.

Co-authors include Gail Marion, PA-C, Ph.D., Stephen Davis, M.A., Sonia Crandall, Ph.D., and Carol Hildebrandt, B.A., of Wake Forest Baptist.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center


Related Stress Levels Current Events and Stress Levels News Articles


The American athletics track is still a man's world
The limited coverage that American female athletes get in the media is one of many subtle forms of gender biases they have to cope with.

Strong bonds with pets may help foster resiliency in military-connected children
Developing resiliency has important benefits for children, especially those from military families faced with significant challenges such as parental deployment and frequent moves.

Study shows ethnic groups are at higher risk for heart disease yet many aren't aware
Different ethnic groups have widely varying differences in both the prevalence and awareness of cardiovascular risk factors, a finding that highlights the need for specially designed education and intervention programs, according to a study presented today at the 2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

Less than half of Canadians exercise to relieve stress
A research study out of McMaster University has found that only 40 per cent of Canadians exercise to cope with stress.

Gene interacts with stress and leads to heart disease in some people
A new genetic finding from Duke Medicine suggests that some people who are prone to hostility, anxiety and depression might also be hard-wired to gain weight when exposed to chronic stress, leading to diabetes and heart disease.

A look at Florida's charterboat-based recreational shark fishery
The challenge and excitement of catching a large fish makes shark fishing very appealing for recreational anglers.

New Dartmouth smartphone app reveals users' mental health, performance, behavior
Dartmouth researchers and their colleagues have built the first smartphone app that automatically reveals students' mental health, academic performance and behavioral trends.

Man-made noise makes fish more susceptible to predators
Despite their reputation as slippery customers, a new study has shown that eels are losing the fight to survive when faced with marine noise pollution such as that of passing ships.

Simple Tips to Fend Off Freak-Outs
There's sad news in the study of happiness. Rest assured, there is a happy ending, though.

Stress tied to change in children's gene expression related to emotion regulation, physical health
Children who have been abused or neglected early in life are at risk for developing both emotional and physical health problems.
More Stress Levels Current Events and Stress Levels News Articles

© 2014 BrightSurf.com