The first book for the general public about the importance of mindfulness in medical practice, Attending is a groundbreaking, intimate exploration of how doctors approach their work with patients. From his early days as a Harvard Medical School student, Epstein saw what made good doctors great—more accurate diagnoses, fewer errors, and stronger connections with their patients. This made a lasting impression on him and set the stage for his life’s work—identifying the qualities and habits that distinguish master clinicians from those who are merely competent. The secret, he learned, was mindfulness.
Dr. Epstein “shows how taking time to pay attention to patients can lead to better outcomes on both sides of the stethoscope” (Publishers Weekly). Drawing on his clinical experiences and current research, Dr. Epstein explores four foundations of mindfulness—Attention, Curiosity, Beginner’s Mind, and Presence—and shows how clinicians can grow their capacity to provide high-quality care.
The commodification of health care has shifted doctors’ focus away from the healing of patients to the bottom line. Clinician burnout is at an all-time high. Attending is the antidote. With compassion and intelligence, Epstein offers “a concise guide to his view of what mindfulness is, its value, and how it is a skill that anyone can work to acquire” (Library Journal).
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
1 Being Mindful 1
2 Attending 15
3 Curiosity 35
4 Beginner's Mind: The Zen of Doctoring 51
5 Being Present 67
6 Navigating Without a Map 85
7 Responding to Suffering 107
8 The Shaky State of Compassion 125
9 When Bad Things Happen 137
10 Healing the Healer 157
11 Becoming Mindful 177
12 Imagining a Mindful Health Care System 191
Appendix: Attention Practice 209
Reference List 249
Bonus Material: Being a Mindful Patient 289
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What is medical practice like when a physician takes the time to tune into the patient, to find out what is going on in mind, body and spirit? Does a different diagnosis emerge from such sensitivity? Does the physician experience less stress in a system that is fraught with demands for quality performance at the least possible cost? Is this type of change necessary when physicians are so trained to churn out diagnoses from lists of diagnostic symptoms and formulas for treatment? Dr. Ronald Epstein attempts to answer these and other questions. His central thesis is that doctors who practice mindfulness as part of their practice are less stressed, more effective and more human, like their patients. Dr. Epstein describes his experience as a third-year Harvard Medical School student as he watched a surgeon operating on one kidney totally ignore that the other kidney was turning purple and looking engorged with blood. While that other kidney was within the surgeon’s field of vision, it had no primary concern or focus. The field was narrow but the surgeon’s focus was narrower. It may not seem like a big deal but it could have had fatal consequences. Perhaps you’ve heard a patient cite symptoms, feelings and questions in one long speech upon first entering a doctor’s office. How does the doctor handle that barrage and how many items can the physician handle? What can be ignored out of that list and should it be ignored? Dr. Epstein handles this answer without condemning doctor or patient and instead focusing on techniques of mindfulness that mean a doctor is more sensitive to everything coming into his medical surround. Mindfulness is enhanced with compassion and a state of constant curiosity on the part of the physician. Numerous medical anecdotes fill the pages as we learn about some of the components of mindfulness. The stories keep it all interesting as there is a bit much of repetition – perhaps a necessary mode as some may be tempted to pass over these elements of “how” to learn mindfulness and practice the same with patients. All in all, this is an interesting text for those who are teachers, students, practitioners, or administrators in medicine. Certainly, Dr. Epstein presents a model of medicine that will fascinate both practitioners and patients. Nicely done, Dr. Ronald Epstein!