Medical students’ perception of resilience and of an innovative curriculum-based resilience skills building course: A participant-focused qualitative analysis
Ho, Samuel B
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Background: Medicine is one of the most demanding academic fields with an extensive curriculum that entails plenty of potential stressors. There is sufficient evidence that medical students are more prone to psychological distress when compared to their peer group of other disciplines. Despite the established need to prioritize resilience skills building within the medical curriculum, very few medical programmes in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) proactively empower the students to help themselves in sustaining their mental health. The purpose of the current study is to explore the perception of medical students in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding their understanding of, and personal experience with building resilience, and their engagement with the content of an innovative curriculum-based resilience skills building course, designed in alignment with the constructivism theory of education. Method: The current study utilized a qualitative phenomenological research design. The curriculum based resilience skills building course, that was investigated as part of this study, is offered at a medical school in Dubai, UAE. A total of 37 students submitted reflective essays about resilience building, in general, and the respective course, in specific. The collected data was inductively analysed following a six-step framework. Findings: The qualitative analysis generated three interlinked themes, namely: Awareness, Application, and Appraisal. Conclusion: This study showed that integrating a resilience skills building course into medical curricula is likely to be positively appraised by the students, where it raises their level of awareness and likelihood of proactively applying the learned concepts in their daily lives. This is especially true when the course is anchored in constructivism experiential learning theory and designed to foster self-directed learning.