Mindfulness for preclinical medical students

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Background The inability to cope with the enormous stress of medical education may result in personal and professional consequences. Research conducted with undergraduate medical students at St Andrews and Manchester suggested that one in four were categorised as ‘burned out.’ Further research suggests self-care in medical education as central to the ability to deliver patient centred care. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of a short term mindfulness-based intervention and its effect on mental well-being, self-efficacy and burnout in a sample of first and second year undergraduate medical students from Manchester Medical School. Methods Year 1 and 2 medical students were invited to 5 sessions of Mindfulness. Measures taken pre and post the mindfulness course included the: Maslach Burnout Inventory Student Survey (MBI-SS) SS), Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) and General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE). Data was analysed using Wilcoxen signed rank test. Focus group run 1 month post course were analysed using framework analysis. Intervention The mindfulness course was led by an experienced facilitator. It consisted of five weekly group sessions, each lasting one hour. The training included guided meditations and mindfulness skills teaching, with handouts covering key mindfulness concepts Findings 33 participants, 22 completed both sets of measures: • MBI-SS: Pre-mindfulness 24% ‘burnt-out’ post-mindfulness 4%. • WEMWBS: Mental Well-being increased (z = -3.554, p = <.001, r = 0.55). • GSE: Self-efficacy increased (z = -2.274, p = < .023, r = 0.34) Themes from the focus group (n=7): • Awareness of thoughts on behaviour • The (un)acceptance of stress • Feeling ‘OK’ Discussion Mindfulness positively impacted the student’s wellbeing and was experienced positively. Further study is needed to consider the maintenance of skills and the integration with the curriculum. Establishing wellbeing skills and habits early in a medical students degree is imperative.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2016