Mindful Medical Practice: An Innovative Core Course to Prepare Medical Students for Clerkship

Author: Tom A Hutchinson, Stephen Liben
1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Programs in Whole Person Care, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. tom.hutchinson@mcgill.ca.
2 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Programs in Whole Person Care, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Perspect Med Educ
Date published: 2020 Jun 5
Other: Word Count: 263

PMID: 32504447 DOI: 10.1007/s40037-020-00591-3

Background: Medical students show a decline in empathy and ethical reasoning during medical school that is most marked during clerkship. We believe that part of the problem is that students do not have the skills and ways of being and relating necessary to deal effectively with the overwhelming clinical experience of clerkship.

Approach: At McGill University in Montreal, starting in January 2015, we have taught a course on mindful medical practice that combines a clinical focus on the combination of mindfulness and congruent relating that is aimed at giving students the skills and ways of being to function effectively in clerkship. The course is taught to all medical students in groups of 20, weekly for 7 weeks, in the 6 months immediately prior to clerkship, a time when students are very open to learning the skills they need to take effective care of patients.

Evaluation: The course has been well accepted by students as evidenced by their engagement, their evaluations, and their comments in the essays that they write at the end of the course. In a follow-up session at the simulation centre one year later students remember clearly and enact what they were taught in the course.

Reflection: The next steps will be to conduct a formal evaluation of the effect of our teaching that will involve a combination of qualitative methods to clarify the nature of the impact on our students and a quantitative assessment of the difference the course makes to students' experience and performance in clerkship.

Keywords: Congruence; Experiential learning; Mindful medical practice; Whole person care.