Mindfulness for medical residents

Summary

Medical residency is a demanding and challenging period, and burnout is highly prevalent in medical residents. Hanne Verweij studied whether a mindfulness training is helpful for this population.  The results showed that the mindfulness training did not results for a reduction of burnout symptoms for the whole group, but residents with high baseline levels of burnout did seem to benefit from the mindfulness training. Furthermore, the mindfulness training resulted in improvements in terms of wellbeing more generally.

Results

The results showed that the mindfulness training did not results for a reduction of burnout symptoms for the whole group, but residents with high baseline levels of burnout did seem to benefit from the mindfulness training. Furthermore, the mindfulness training resulted in improvements in terms of wellbeing more generally (personal accomplishment, worry, mindfulness skills, self-compassion and aspects of empathy). During interviews with participants, they indicated that the mindfulness training was also helpful from them professionally. This study indicated that mindfulness might be an effective intervention for reducing burnout and can be beneficial for medical residents in terms of their personal and professional development.

Why

Medical residency is a particularly highly demanding and challenging period, and a peak time for distress. Medical residents are confronted with a high workload and stressful situations.

It is important to help medical residents to deal more effectively with the stress of training, develop techniques to help in their careers, and potentially prevent burnout.

Goal

To examine the effectiveness of MBSR in reducing burnout in medical residents.

Participants

Medical residents (residents from all medical, surgical and primary care disciplines)

How

Residents were self-referred and when interested, they were informed in more detail about the study. In total 148 medical residents participated. Participants completed an online baseline assessment and were randomized to either the MBSR or the control group. Approximately three months later, after the last MBSR session or at the end of the control period participants received the post-intervention questionnaire.

End

In March 2016 we finished data collection. Last December (2017) Hanne Verweij defended her thesis, titled ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Medical Residents’. See the Radboud Repository for a digital copy of the thesis.


By whom

Hanne Verweij, Anne Speckens, Toine Lagro, Hiske van Ravesteijn and Madelon van Hooff.