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Mindfulness training experience of British medical students: happiness, coping reserve and professional development

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Document pages: 11 pages

Abstract: Medical school can be a stressful experience for students, leading to stress-related mental health problems. The policy recommendations of the General Medical Council (GMC), which is responsible for improving medical education in the UK, recommend the use of mindfulness training to improve happiness and stress resistance. From the autumn of 2011 to the spring of 2015, students participating in the eight week mindfulness training were invited to complete a free text survey at the end of the mindfulness course. In addition, six qualitative interviews were conducted with a duration of 60 to 90 days   minutes. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim using topic guidelines. We use the framework method to analyze the data. The students reported a new relationship between thought and emotionave a greater sense of control and resiliency, an ability to manage their workload better, and more acceptance of their limitations as learners. The small group context was important. Students described improved empathy and communication skills through building inner awareness of thoughts and feelings, noticing judgments, and developing attentive observation. The findings show how resiliency and coping reserve can be developed within medical education and the role of mindfulness in this process. We present a conceptual model of a learnt cycle of specific vulnerability and describe how MBCT intercepts at various junctures in this self-reinforcing cycle through the development of new coping strategies that embrace an “allowed vulnerability.”

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