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Benefits of mindfulness programs for med students

mindful2Previously on Scope, we've written about the prevalence of burnout among medical students and the use of mindfulness-based programs to help physicians facing similar situations. Now, a study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center documents results from a meditation and stress-reduction training program for third-year medical students.

The program, Applied Relaxation and Applied Mindfulness (ARAM), includes guided relaxation and training in mindfulness meditation. From a recent Wake Forest release:

The goal of the Wake Forest Baptist training was threefold: to help familiarize future doctors with techniques recommended in many medical treatment plans for patients; to reduce stress and prevent professional burnout; and to enhance performance by improving working memory and empathy and by moderating performance anxiety.

The ARAM training was composed of three sessions integrated into the third-year family medicine clerkship. According to [William McCann, PsyD,], 90 percent of the students found the class beneficial.

The release quotes McCann as saying, "The rate of burnout among doctors is sobering and every medical school needs to include stress-management training in their curriculums." He and his colleagues also note in their study, which appears in the fall issue of the Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education, that:

It has been suggested that inadequate self-care and ineffective coping styles are often established during medical training; they may persist after training and be self-destructive in the long-run. Therefore, introducing students to self-regulation skills along with other self-care approaches during medical school may improve their personal health and professional satisfaction not only during residency but also beyond.

Previously: Using mindfulness interventions to help reduce physician burnout, Stanford establishes ‘banking system’ to help faculty balance their professional and personal lives, How mindfulness-based therapies can improve attention and health and A closer look at depression and distress among medical students
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