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Beginner’s mind

Journal title
London journal of primary care
Publication year
Younie, L.

The concept of ‘beginner’s mind’ invites the expert medical professional to be present to their patients, remaining curious and responsive in the face of the individuality of illness. Each patient is a universe of unknowns, presenting with suffering which cannot always be classified with a diagnosis. Improvisation and openness may not just benefit our patients enduring their patient journeys but may also revive and reconnect us with our own humanity. Why this matters to me: My experience as cancer patient brought home to me the value of encountering a doctor who was present and able to listen and respond to me as an individual. It did not necessarily take longer, but was about an attitude of heart.Like any professional, as GPs we are at risk of presumption and habitual thinking. Beginner’s mind, that is recapturing the openness and curiosity modelled to us by children, can powerfully transform the medical encounter, allowing space for emergence of patient perspective and doctor response. Key message: Embrace curiosity and learning into our expert clinical practice.

Research abstracts