If you missed today's show with Dr. Ronald Epstein, listen to our conversation here.
ATTENDING is a groundbreaking, intimate exploration of how doctors approach real-world medical cases and patients—and the difference that conscientiousness can make on patient outcomes—from the foremost expert in the field. ATTENDING is the first book for the general public about mindfulness in medical practice and richly illustrated with real-life stories of patients and doctors,
As a third-year Harvard Medical student, Epstein watched an experienced surgeon fail to notice his 18-year-old patient’s kidney turning an ominous shade of blue during surgery. In that same rotation, Epstein was awestruck by another surgeon’s ability to slow down and shift from autopilot to deliberate precision during a complicated procedure. The difference between these two doctors left a lasting impression on Epstein and set the stage for his life’s work—to identify the qualities and habits that distinguish masterful doctors from those who are merely competent. The secret, he learned, was mindfulness.
When doctors approach care mindfully, they are open to possibility: less likely to let diagnoses define their patients, and more likely to consider alternate perspectives and avoid fatal mistakes. They are more likely to practice with compassion—attending to their patients’ needs and emotions—and self-compassion—attending to their own emotions to avoid burning out. Approaching medicine—and all work—mindfully both requires and builds grit and resilience.
In today’s commodified healthcare system, with physician burnout at an all-time high, Epstein’s ATTENDING offers a model for doctors, patients, and their families to approach medical decisions thoughtfully and collaborate to achieve the best that medical care can offer.
Ronald Epstein is a Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, and Oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where he directs Mindful Practice programs, the Center for Communication and Disparities Research, and the Dean’s Teaching Fellowship program. His landmark article, “Mindful Practice,” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, has been widely cited and is required reading at over 1/3 of medical schools in the USA. His current research is supported by $7 million in grants from the NIH. He is a two-time Fulbright scholar, has over 250 publications, and has given over 300 presentations at over 100 medical schools, health systems and conferences throughout the world. Epstein has been named one of America’s Best Doctors since 1998 by US News and World Report and has received distinguished service and humanism awards from the University of Rochester, New York State Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Learn more about Dr. Epstein: http://www.ronaldepstein.com/