Health Professions Education (Jun 2020)

Mindfulness Training: Success in Reducing First Year Health Professional Students’ Study and Exam Related Stress

  • Simone J. Ross,
  • Kimberley Owens,
  • Andrew Roberts,
  • Ernest Jennings,
  • Martina Mylrea

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 2
pp. 162 – 169


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Purpose: Students enrolling in high stakes, undergraduate entry, professional programs like medicine, dentistry and pharmacy may struggle to effectively achieve the transition from high school. This often results in high levels of mental distress. Method: The College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University have implemented a health professional self-care program (HPSC) with an aim of helping students recognize stressors and develop coping strategies. The HPSC program has been running for three years in the first year of each of the three courses. The HPSC program was delivered as a series of eight sessions focusing on evidenced based theory with some time for practicing coping strategies. Five-point Likert scale surveys were administered prior to commencing the program and after completion. Results: Across the College, students reported significantly improved abilities to reduce study and exam related stress and develop effective coping skills. These results were more pronounced in students that practiced techniques of mindfulness. Discussion: The HPSC program changed student perceptions in being able to improve their own self-care and reduced study and exam related stress.