Mindful Practice programs focus on promoting qualities of exemplary clinicians that include, but are not limited to:
Attentive observation: Being able to observe without making judgments that would otherwise distort or diminish one’s capacity to understand. This quality helps clinicians to monitor their own biases, thoughts and emotions on a moment-to-moment basis, developing the capacity to “observe the observer,” and cultivating “the observing self.”
Critical curiosity: Seeing novelty in all situations, including familiar ones, and tolerating ambiguity and uncertainty. Cultivating curiosity helps clinicians to avoid common cognitive biases that lead to medical errors, such premature closure or ignoring disconfirming data. They also help clinicians to see patients and families as unique individuals.
Beginner’s mind: Opening the mind to fresh perspectives and taking more than one perspective simultaneously. This quality addresses the mind’s tendency to take only one perspective on a problem, and instead, makes more diagnostic and therapeutic options available.
Presence: Being there physically, mentally and emotionally for patients, accurately communicating an understanding of the patient’s concerns and feelings back to the patient and enacting compassion. Clinicians have written powerful narratives of these experiences. Yet, “being there” is challenging in demanding, high-paced and stressful clinical environments.
Mindful practice programs offer strategies for enhancing these qualities. In addition, participants share with each other their own strategies that are already helping them to be attentive, curious, flexible, and present.