Wouldn’t it be nice to have an hour in the middle of a busy workday to practice mindfulness, meditate, pray or renew yourself? Most physicians don’t have that kind of time. (Actually none that I am aware of). Because of this reality, I’m always on the lookout for examples of physicians who have found ways to build mindfulness into busy days. Here is one example from Dr. Bruce Feldstein:
“Before I enter my patient’s room, I stop. While washing (or gelling) my hands, I prepare my attention. I bring my awareness to my feet on the ground, then to my breath, and to the flow of water (or gel) over my hands, as if they are washing aside (evaporating away) my preoccupations, leaving only my best intentions. I make a blessing before I dry my hands (or as my hands are drying). I lift up my hands: May I be of service. Then I take a full breath and remind myself: What matters for you, my patient, is what matters for me. May I meet you in your world as it is for you and accompany you from there. Whatever time I have with you, may I be fully present. May I serve you with all of my life experience as well as my expertise. May I listen fully with a generous heart, without judgment, and without having to fix what cannot be fixed. May I be well used. Before entering the room, I stop again, take another full breath to keep my focus, and then I knock. When I enter, I scan the room, ‘‘touch’’ the patient with my eyes, then with my voice, and then, as appropriate, with my hand. I cannot know who and what I will encounter when I enter the room. What stories, what emotions? Will I even be welcome? I do know that my preparation can facilitate meaningful connection. It also can open the way to what may normally be unseen, which can announce itself to any of us at unexpected times, in unexpected ways, with unexplainable, sometimes extraordinary, moments of awe. Such moments can help sustain one through challenging times.”
I don’t know if a ritual like this would work in your practice. I do know that taking a moment for mindfulness is good for you and your patients.