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Connelly J
Academic Medicine: April 1999
Journal Article: PDF Only

Medical practice is beset by interruptions, contests for the attention of the physician, and urgent demands that diminish the attentiveness required for the humanistic care of patients. This essay discusses skills forbeing in the present momentthat can help doctors to overcome distractedness. Because of some striking similarities between the experience of reading poetry and the attentiveness required of medicine, the author uses 19th- and 20th-century American poetry to illustrate the state of mindfulness andbeing in the moment,” and suggests the helpfulness of poetry in developing these skills in physicians. Applying these skills in everyday practice rewards the physician with renewed energy, a fresh perspective, and increased strength while preventing the stress and harm caused by a distracted or inattentive practice.

Created Date: 14 May 1999; Completed Date: 14 May 1999; Revised Date: 18 December 2000

© 1999 Association of American Medical Colleges