A Bunker Garden: Mindfulness-Based Landscape Design to Restore Physicians from Burnout

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Virginia Tech

Landscape architects design healing gardens at healthcare facilities to support patients, visitors, caregivers, and staff. Many acknowledge that medical staff regularly visit healing gardens to escape work-related stress (Marcus and Sachs, 2014). Rarely, however, are healing gardens on medical campuses designed specifically to support physicians' well-being. There is a void in healing garden design theory. Reports on the prevalence of physician burnout, warn of a widespread crisis and dismal reality within the medical community (T. D. Shanafelt et al., 2015). Researchers pronounce an urgent need for evidence-based interventions, which address individual contributing factors to burnout (Christina Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter, 1986). By investigating the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, an evidence-based therapy, clinically proven to cultivate emotional healing, for physicians suffering burnout, this research reveals how a therapeutic garden could meld mindfulness-based practices with environmental theory; healing garden design precedents; and healthcare design typologies. Finally, mindfulness-based landscape design guidelines describe how a private, restorative, healing garden could help maintain physicians' well-being and rehabilitate physicians experiencing burnout due to emotional exhaustion within the workplace.

healing garden, therapeutic landscape, restoration, nature, healthcare, physicians, stress, burnout, mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction