My mind kept returning to the patient I had encountered earlier that day. I experienced this subtle feeling that something important had happened. I became curious about the man and his story, but above all, I wondered what the most important part of that appointment had been.
In medicine, as in medical training, time is the enemy. There is not enough time to talk to patients or study for board exams. There is not enough time to read the latest literature. At the end of the day, there is not enough time to make plans with friends or develop a gym routine that is anything but sporadic.
Most of my articles bear a similar theme: find activity, go on activity, discuss what I learned from the activity and my recommendations for whether or not my readers should pursue said activity. This one is … different.
Peering around the door anxiously, my eyes connected once again with the receptionist. After receiving her knowing glance, I once again stepped away from the doorway. It was 9:02 a.m. My first experience shadowing a pediatrician and interviewing patients was slated to begin promptly at 9 a.m.
The topic of burnout is huge in today’s medical community. Multiple articles and studies have been published demonstrating that burnout is prevalent in all levels of medical training from the day-one medical student to the most senior practicing attending.
There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness these days — its importance, its effectiveness, the benefits of meditation and even the structural changes in the brain that result from it. (Do you want a less reactive amygdala and increased neuronal density in the hippocampus? Meditate!) It’s one thing to read about the benefits of doing something, but as many know, it’s another thing to actually apply it and understand it. So how can medical students use stress reduction strategies “in the context of the high-stakes, high-stress and time-limited environment of medical school.”
For most medical students, the third year of medical school is their introduction to life in the hospital. This results not only in exciting learning opportunities, but also emotional tolls — grief, fear, anxiety, exhaustion — that can lead to serious problems including burnout, depression, and anxiety.
How can doctors-in-training confront great suffering without closing off emotionally? Jamie, a Class of 2014 medical student graduate heading to work at ABC News and starting a media project about the interface of meditation and medicine, shares how she practices presence with her own body and emotions in order to be present with others.
Eyes closed, shallow breaths. A serene, deserted beach in the south of France, in the near future. Children playing far away in a field, their laughter carried by the wind to nearby cliffs, where it glances off the soaring cliffs and echoes softly in my ears. Waves gently sweeping across the land, creating transient, unique impressions in the sand…again and again. My fingers slowly intertwine with those of another, and I am gratified by a …
Addiction is a chronic illness characterized by the use of a psychogenic substance despite negative consequences associated with its use. Biological dependence is marked by cravings, increased dose and/or frequency of use due to tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of substance abuse. Addicts gain pleasure via the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is released from the ventral tegmental area of the brain and into the nucleus accumbens. This reward encourages and solidifies the addictive behavior and …
How can doctors-in-training bring mindfulness into medical practice? Morgan, who is currently exploring healing around the world while applying for family medicine residencies, shares how her experiences at a Zen meditation center inspired her desire to be more present with her patients.
The life of a medical student is a rapid succession of lectures, small group sessions, exams, clinical experiences, workshops, meetings, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. As such, there has never been a more perfect time to stop and smell the roses. Seriously. As described in the blossoming literature, mindfulness techniques quite literally offer the opportunity to stop, breath, and take in the present moment -– roses, exams and all. Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental observation and …