Medical Education Development
Medical students experience stress during medical education that can negatively impact performance. Typical curricula in U.S. medical schools are rigorously intense and provide little or no time off between courses in the first two years of training. This intensity contributes to increased stress for students accustomed to performing academically near the top of the class prior to matriculating in medical school. We describe an innovative new academic calendar that was modified to create a Professional Enrichment Program. Students can step back from the rigors of coursework and engage in several types of activities in order to decompress from recent studying and examinations. These activities include electives, service opportunities, independent study, and clinical experiences that are self-selected by students. Students and faculty complete surveys about the activities they completed and the usefulness of their choices. Results show broad approval of the program with the greatest results supporting an appreciation of time to decompress and an increase in time for family and personal activities.
curriculum development, stress reduction, undergraduate electives, student-directed learning
Adkison LR, Hanson A. Implementation of a Professional Enrichment Program to Enhance Medical School Experience. Medical Education Development. 2013; 3(1). doi: 10.4081/med.2013.e3.