“There’s an inherent irony or paradox that here is a sector that’s charged with promoting the health and wellbeing of the population but is damaging the health and wellbeing of staff in the process,”

-Michael West (Head of Thought Leadership, The King’s Fund)

Healthcare professionals are well accustomed to giving care often at the expense of their own health and personal life. We work long and odd hours often under unrelenting pressure. It can be difficult to strike a work life balance in this current climate.

Dr Reena believes that ‘Healthcare Starts With Self Care’.

Having experienced the positive mental and physical effects of mindfulness meditation and positive psychology practice first hand she developed ‘Mindful Medics’, a programme designed to improve the health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals.

Benefits of the Mindful Medics Programme

Feedback from an NHS Registrar following the 8 Week Mindful Medics Course
Delivered (Apr - Jun 2018):

How is your morale after the course compared to before?

As you will remember from the first week, I have spent the last few years seriously considering whether I am in the right profession. I’ve been plagued by ‘imposter syndrome’ and negative thoughts about work. Despite being happy in my personal life, my doubts about work have had a tendency to dominate my leisure time, which has culminated in several crises of confidence, in which I have felt the only option was to find an escape, either by changing specialty or to leave medicine altogether.
My morale has much improved following the course. I feel more positive about my career and the future. I am recognising parts of work that I enjoy, feel more settled in my specialty and have no plans to leave. This has had knock-on positive effects on my personal life too…

How has the course helped your professional life?

Increased productivity – I have recognised that trying to multi-task when under pressure is paradoxically unproductive and exacerbates stress. Focusing my attention on one task at a time has helped me to achieve more at work, feel less overwhelmed by my workload and enjoy work more.

New ways of responding to my thought patterns - One day at work I had a negative interaction with a senior colleague. My immediate reaction was that I was ‘rubbish’, a useless trainee, and that things would be so much better if I switched specialities, or I quit. I was able to recognise this as an ‘all-or nothing’ reaction, treat it in isolation rather than jumping to extreme conclusions and reflect on and seek alternative explanations for why it happened. The next day I had moved past the negative feelings and was feeling positive again. I feel this averted a negative spiral which in the past has persisted for weeks/months, made me resent my job and look for alternatives outside of medicine.

Better response to difficult situations - A recent example includes a patient who I felt was making unreasonable demands. My initial reaction was to think they were rude and ungrateful. I used the ‘SOS Response’ tool to collect my thoughts before responding. I responded compassionately by seeking to understand why the parent was being demanding and addressing her concerns. This maintained our doctor-patient relationship, and I finished the interaction feeling valued rather than annoyed.

Would you recommend this course to colleagues:

Absolutely. It’s unfathomable given the stress of decision-making, time-pressure, academic and physical demands and competition that doctors face that we are given so little support. There’s a lot of unhappy junior doctors who I think this course would help which could help improve retention in medicine.

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