A Curriculum to Teach Resilience Skills to Medical Students During Clinical Training

MedEdPORTAL. 2020 Sep 30:16:10975. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10975.


Introduction: Burnout in medical students is extensive and a critical issue. It is associated with increased rates of depression, suicide, and poor perception of the educational environment. Enhancing resilience, the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity, is a potential tool to mitigate burnout and improve medical student wellness.

Methods: Our resilience curriculum consisted of facilitated workshops to cultivate resilience in medical students during their core clerkship rotations. This curriculum served as an introduction to the concept of resilience and taught skills to cultivate resilience and promote wellness. The sessions allowed for identification of and reflection on stressors in the clinical learning environment, including straining team dynamics, disappointment, and uncertainty. Educational sessions included resilience skill-building exercises for managing expectations, letting go of negative emotions, dealing with setbacks, and finding meaning in daily work. Associated materials included lesson plans for small-group facilitators, learner pre- and postcurriculum surveys, and a social media activity guide.

Results: This curriculum was delivered to 144 clerkship students at two academic institutions over the 2017-2018 academic year. Sessions were well received by medical students, with the majority of students stating that the sessions should continue. The majority of attendees found the sessions valuable and learned new ways to approach challenges.

Discussion: Students valued connecting with peers and feeling less alone through their participation. A challenge was constructing a setting conducive to comfortable reflection for all learners. Not all students found these sessions necessary. Sessions may have improved resilience levels.

Keywords: Burnout; Clerkship; Clinical Clerkship; Microblogging; Reflection/Narrative Medicine; Resilience; Well-Being/Mental Health; Wellness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional*
  • Curriculum
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Peer Group
  • Students, Medical*