Background: Medical practitioners and students are at increased risk of a number of personal and psychological problems. Stress and anxiety due to work-load and study requirements are common and self-care methods are important in maintaining well-being. The current study examines perceptions of and satisfaction ratings with a mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme for 1(st) year (compulsory) and 2(nd) year (optional) Graduate Entry Medical School students.
Methods: A mixed method pre and post study of Year 1 (n = 140) and Year 2 (n = 88) medical students completing a 7 week MBSR course compared student satisfaction ratings. Thematic analysis of feedback from the students on their perception of the course was also carried out.
Results: Year 1 students (compulsory course) were less satisfied with content and learning outcomes than Year 2 students (optional course) (p < .0005). Thematic analysis of year 1 student feedback identified themes including great concept, poorly executed; and less discussion, more practice. Year 2 themes included session environment and satisfaction with tutors.
Conclusions: The MBSR course was associated with high levels of satisfaction and positive feedback when delivered on an optional basis. Catering for the individual needs of the participant and promoting a safe environment are core elements of a successful self-care programme.
Keywords: Academic stress in medical students; Doctor burnout; Medical undergraduate; Mindfulness; Self-care; Stress reduction; Student satisfaction.