Mindfulnes to prevent burnout among medical students – El Farad

Patricia Díaz Rodríguez has focused her Final Degree Project on analyzing the prevalence of Burnout syndrome among medical students at the University of Cantabria, reaching the conclusion that it is necessary to implement measures to reduce it.

The medical degree is frequently stressful due to the high level of demand. Some issues known to trigger academic stress include excessive homework, peer competition, exams, and time management issues. What the Covid pandemic has done has been to increase the prevalence of Burnout among students. This is how Patricia Díaz Rodríguez explains it in her Final Degree Project, where she analyzes the prevalence of this syndrome among medical students at the University of Cantabria.

Burnout syndrome is a chronic adjustment disorder that presents as a state of physical, emotional and cognitive exhaustion caused by chronic exposure to stressful situations. It negatively affects a person’s quality of life and productivity. This syndrome has been observed mainly in professions that care for people, such as health care, social services or education, and has been aggravated by the Covid pandemic.

Burnout syndrome, despite not yet being included in the DSM-5, is a real problem that directly affects the mental and physical health of doctors, which begins from their stage as university students.

Patricia Díaz Rodríguez has reached the conclusion that medical students at the University of Cantabria present a high level of this syndrome, for which she proposes the need to make an important change in the system that can prevent, detect and deal with this circumstance among students.

A study in 43 different faculties shows data that the author of the study describes as “alarming”: 40% of the students have some sign of depression, with 10.2% having severe depression. 11% present suicidal ideation, 24.7% show high anxiety, 21.5% present habitual anxiety (anxiety trait) and 36.8% have high levels of burnout (15).

In his conclusions, Díaz insists that the figures in Cantabria are above those data and among the measures he proposes to reduce them is the practice of Mindfulnes. “This management could have a great impact on the health of students and professional medical practice. We also hope that the results will lead to future lines of research, such as multicenter and longitudinal studies to find out the changes that could occur with the different strategies implemented and thus analyze which ones are more effective in reducing and protecting students.”

The author of the study adds that it would be of interest to expand the sample of the study carried out, which has focused on 359 students out of a total number of 794 students, and include the study of affective symptoms, personality traits and other possible risk factors and protection.

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