Medical curricula on wellbeing should include self-help strategies and assisting others

January 01, 0001

Medical curricula on wellbeing should include self-help strategies and assisting others

The aim of this quantitative survey of medical students at five universities in Australia and New Zealand in November 2007 was to explore medical students’ views on support services, stigma, and teaching of wellbeing in light of their experiences of stress and distress. 1328 students completed the survey (26% response rate).

Seventy-one per cent of students were aware of support services at their university. Of these, 46% believed the services were adequately promoted, and 49% had either used the services themselves or knew someone who had. Overall, 70% of students had their own general practitioner, but this fell to 45% for international students (significant). Fifty-five per cent of students believed there was a stigma associated with being a medical student undergoing stress and distress. Fifty-six per cent of students believed they had formal teaching on stress and distress. Students most wanted to learn methods to help somebody else cope and preferred to be taught through formal lectures.

The researchers concluded: "Medical curricula on wellbeing should include strategies for self-help and giving assistance to others, and aim to decrease stigma. Adequate and well-promoted support services are required to complement this teaching, in particular for international students."

Teaching such self-help strategies may also help them practice the techniques with future colleagues or patients, as well as use them on themselves.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 192(4):188-190, 15 February 2010
© The Medical Journal of Australia 2010
Painting the picture: Australasian medical student views on wellbeing teaching and support services. James M Hillis, William R G Perry, Emily Y Carroll et al. Correspondence to::

Category: P. Psychological, PT. Professional Training. Keywords: medical students, views, wellbeing, teaching, support services, quantitative survey, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 9 April 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.