Relationship between Executive Functions, Mindfulness, Stress, and Performance in Pediatric Emergency Simulations

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Mar 19;17(6):2040. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17062040.


Over the past decade, high-fidelity medical simulation has become an accepted and widely used teaching method in pediatrics. Both simulation and work in the real conditions of emergency departments are accompanied by stress that affects the executive functions of participants. One of the methods for reducing stress among medical students and healthcare professionals is the practice of mindfulness. The aim of this study was to examine whether executive functions, mindfulness, and stress are related to the technical and non-technical skills of medical students participating in medical simulations in pediatrics. The study included 153 final-year medical students. A total of 306 high-fidelity simulations of life-threatening situations involving children were conducted. Results: Stress and the coping mechanism of the participants were correlated to their skills during pediatric simulations. Some components of mindfulness, such as non-judgment and conscious action, were positively related to the skills of medical team leaders. Executive functions correlated with the non-technical skills and mindfulness of the medical students. Conclusions: Stress, mindfulness, and executive functions modeled the behavior and skills of medical students during pediatric simulations of life-threatening events. Further research in this area may prove whether mindfulness training will improve learning outcomes in pediatric emergency medicine.

Keywords: executive functions; medical education; medical simulation; mindfulness; pediatric emergency; stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mindfulness*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Students, Medical* / psychology