The Value of a Brief Thought for the Day Reflection on an Academic Consult Service

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Abstract

Background:

Work in hospice and palliative medicine can be stressful. A variety of methods have been used to mitigate workplace stress including mindfulness mediation, reflective writing, and physical activity. An intervention implemented at our institution is a “Thought for the Day,” a short reflection on a piece of poetry, music, or religious writing. Although this practice may be commonplace in the field of hospice and palliative medicine, no literature has been published about its perceived utility by team members with various competing demands on their time.

Objective:

This study’s objective was to obtain a better understanding about the perception and utility of a Thought for the Day held by clinicians rounding on an academic palliative medicine consult service.

Methods:

A survey, containing qualitative and quantitative elements was sent to faculty, staff, and learners who participated in a Thought for the Day over the 18 months between March 2013 and October 2014. Twenty-eight responses were returned and analyzed.

Results:

Most participants (23 of the 28) felt that the Thought for the Day was an important use of their time on the academic consult service. Differences were seen by gender and team role. Additionally, it was reported that the Thought for the Day improved the participants’ perception of teamwork.

Conclusion:

The use of a Thought for the Day reflection may be beneficial and constructive even for a busy academic consult service.

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