Medical Student Well-Being
Our goal is to provide students with various coping mechanisms for the prevention and management of stress-related problems. Additionally, you will find information for learning ways to educate, motivate, and facilitate positive change at your medical school with regards to student wellness. Changing unhealthy trends in medical education may not be easy, but we, as well as our patients, deserve it.
Medical school is an exciting and challenging time. Along with these challenges come new sources of anxiety and stress. While learning to help patients care for themselves, it may seem as though we neglect our own health and well-being in the name of success.
If you are experiencing stress and anxiety related to medical school, you are not alone. Common themes of stress and anxiety across all four years of medical school include adherence to tough schedules, exam taking, sleep deprivation, and attempting to balance a healthy lifestyle while trying to meet goals. First year students often struggle with the increased work demand and adjustment to a new school. Second year students notoriously develop varying forms of hypochondriasis while studying many diseases for the first time, as well experience stress from the upcoming USMLE/COMLEX Step 1 examinations. Third year students adjusting to clinical rotations may deal with real issues of life and death for the first time, as well as the stress that comes along with deciding on a specialty. Fourth year students, while focusing on residency applications and interviews, will soon face the transition from medical school to internship
Moreover, literature shows that medical students are at increased risk for a host of other ills, including relationship trouble, poor diet, depression, and even an increased risk of suicide 1. In addition, it has been shown that our health practices affect not only our own health, but also the way we, as doctors, advise ourpatients about important lifestyle issues such as diet and exercise2.
In other words, wellness in medical school is a commonly compromised. With this in mind, remember: although stress is a necessary part of life, it does not have to prohibit well-being.
WAYS TO COPE
- Basics of Relaxation/Getting Started
- CAM Overview
- Reading for Fun
- Wolf TM. Stress, coping and health: enhancing well-being during medical school. Med Educ. 1994 Jan;28(1):8-17; discussion 55-7.
- Sherman SE, Hershman WY. Exercise counseling: how do general internists do? J Gen Intern Med. 1993 May;8(5):243-8.