Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity (Paperback)
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With his “deeply informed and compassionate book…Dr. Epstein tells us that it is a ‘moral imperative’ [for doctors] to do right by their patients” (New York Journal of Books).
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).
About the Author
Dr. Ronald Epstein is a practicing family physician and professor of family medicine, psychiatry, and oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where he directs the Center for Communication and Disparities Research. He is an internationally recognized educator, writer, and researcher whose landmark article, “Mindful Practice,” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, has revolutionized physicians’ view of their work. Dr. Epstein has been named one of America’s Best Doctors every year since 1998 by U.S. News & World Report. Visit Dr. Epstein at RonaldEpstein.com.
“This book is phenomenal, and will be phenomenally useful to physicians and to all of us who are desperately in need of true health care and caring. It is hard for me to imagine a doctor reading it and not immediately recognizing, taking to heart, and implementing its messages in any number of different ways, being so commonsensical, clear, innately transformative, and healing. And it is equally hard for me to imagine that it will not energize all of us, when we find ourselves in the role of ‘the patient,’ to demand greater mindfulness from our care-givers across the board, and know what we mean by that.”—Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Mindfulness for Beginners
“As a student admissions committee member reviewing Ron Epstein's application to medical school, I knew he was special, a view surpassed by his visionary achievements illuminating the important nature of how physicians care for their patients, and how they can best care for themselves. Attending is the book every medical caregiver needs to strengthen their minds and harness their resilience to care for others—and every patient needs to understand how doctors think. This is a work of heart and head, a beautiful synthesis of inner wisdom and hard earned scientific empirical findings that point the way to proven methods for improving the lives of both giver and receiver of medical care. With clear explanations, captivating stories, and well-described challenges and approaches to their solutions, this book is exactly what the field of medicine needs.”—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Mind and The Mindful Brain and Executive Director, Mindsight Institute Founding Co-Director, UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
“I recommend Attending for anyone interested in health. In a most accessible way, Epstein makes a very convincing case for how doctors and patients would prosper from doctors becoming more mindful.”—Ellen Langer, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of Mindfulness and Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility
"This powerful and inspiring book opens the pathway to bringing care, wisdom, and mindfulness into practice of medicine. A must-read for all clinicians and for lay readers as well."--Joan Halifax, PhD, author of Being With Dying
"Ronald Epstein cuts through the cacophony and illuminates the heart of the medical enterprise—the attentive and compassionate connection between doctor and patient. In a world awash with medical error, patient dissatisfaction, and burned-out doctors, this attention to mindfulness is much needed balm. Attending is at once penetrating, counterintuitive, and profoundly humbling."--Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, author of What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear
"Attending got my attention from the opening paragraphs. Beautiful, compelling, and wise stories of how medicine and care-taking can be, (should be) when approached with common sense, a fierce sense of what is best for both the doctor and patient, and a compassionate heart. A timely and important book!"--Marc Lesser, CEO of Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) and author of Know Yourself, Forget Yourself and LESS: Accomplishing More By Doing Less
"Ronald Epstein truthfully and powerfully describes the challenging and changing worlds of both the physician and and the patient. Attending will encourage the recognition that mindfulness and compassion training contribute to effective medicine. The book clearly demonstrates how these contemplative practices can help enrich the lives of everyone involved in health care."--Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness
"Epstein presents for general readers 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
"A deeply informed and compassionate book...[Dr. Epstein] tells us that it is a 'moral imperative' to do right by our patients. And he shows why and how."--Lloyd Sederer, New York Journal of Books
"Vivid... Epstein’s candor and courage...that makes the book so compelling."--Pharos