Episode 9: Learn the factors that reduce stress in clinical rotations. Taken from Dr. Haglund’s paper from 2009, Dr. Dan discusses the implications of their findings in an effort to better prepare medical students for the challenges that lie ahead.

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Are you surprised to learn that 80% of medical students experienced personal mistreatment, discrimination and verbal abuse during the 3rd year of medical school? If so, you probably haven’t gone through it yet.

This extensive medical student resilience study published in February 2009 utilized more than 10 scientifically validated surveys, administering to the third year class at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. The studies looked at everything from anxiety, depression, personal growth during the third year to students’ own history of abuse and post traumatic stress symptoms all triggered by experiences in the third year of medical school in 2006-2007.

It is the largest study of it’s kind in terms of scope and many take home points can be learned from this paper.

  • 80% of medical students experienced some form of belittlement or abuse from attendings and residents while in the third year of medical school
  • Trauma didn’t have an overall impact on psychological well-being, however their baseline for “well-being” was the end of the second year of medical school, right around the time of the USMLE Step 1 Exam – ha!
  • The more trauma experienced, the more personal growth occurred
  • Medical students witnessed an average of 2 traumatic events during the third year, which is the lifetime average of the general population in the United States
  • Medical students felt less supported by peers and supervisors as the year progressed, though the rate of traumas didn’t change

What type of stressful or traumatic experiences have you had? Please share them in the comments section below and learn more about stress management community groups.

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