Supporting Medical Student Wellness During a Pandemic: A Pilot Study of an Extra-Curricular Resilience-Promotion Program
Keywords:Anxiety, resilience, undergraduate medical education, wellness program , provider well-being , burnout , stress
Background: Medical students face a unique collection of stressors, both intrinsic and external with consequences to health and well-being, ultimately impacting patient care. Health education institutions play a role in perpetuating or mitigating this experience of stress.
Objective: This pilot project aimed to identify the impact of an extra-curricular wellness program on well-being among naturopathic medical students.
Methods: Participants engaged in a 2-day facilitated wellness retreat followed by three monthly workshops, which coincided with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Frequencies of pre-defined behaviours, and validated measures of stress, resilience, and mental health were assessed prior to the start of the program, immediately upon completion, and 6 months after the program concluded and were compared with wait-listed controls.
Results: There was a clear trend toward reduced stress perception and anxiety, along with improved resilience among program participants through the duration of the study and compared with controls. The positive trends over the course of the study, especially during a global pandemic, suggests that the intervention was beneficial to participants.
Conclusion: The results suggest that supporting students in cultivating the skills of resilient coping may reduce perceived stress and improve mental health for medical students, even during times of uncontrollable external stress.
How to Cite