Research Day

Longitudinal Effects Of Introducing Mindfulness In Medicine For The Clinical Years Of Medical School

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The shift from classroom-learning to clinical medicine, experienced by medical students during their third year, can be extremely stressful, and often has detrimental effects on physical and mental well-being. Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programs, with even a modest level of usage, have been shown to improve stress management, however the impact of MBSR on medical student populations is less well studied. The objective of this study was to determine if exposure to stress relief techniques during the third year of medical school would reduce student stress and anxiety levels. A mandatory one-hour MBSR training was conducted prior to the third year clerkships, introducing mindfulness and guided meditation. A MBSR session was then offered during each clerkship. Voluntary REDCap surveys using the Perceived Stress Scale and General anxiety disorder scale were administered every clerkship to evaluate the impact of stress relief on student perceived stress and anxiety. Preliminary results suggest that anxiety and perceived stress did not decrease. Meditation was the least utilized stress-coping method by students. Attendance at group MBSR sessions was low, due to perceived lack of time. A major barrier to stress and anxiety reduction is limited student engagement, which hampers the effectiveness of any stress relief technique. In a culture that promotes being busy, it is challenging to find time for stress relief, however overcoming this hurdle has been shown to have positive benefits on well-being. Incorporating time-management techniques into a mindfulness curriculum may improve the impact of MBSR.

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