Mindfulness training for psychiatrists in residency: a pilot study
background Medical students and psychiatrists in residency run a high risk for burnout. Furthermore, while at medical school, students seem to experience a reduction in empathy; this seems to be linked to a high level of stress. Interventions based on mindfulness training appear to reduce stress and increase empathy in medical students. Trainees in psychiatric residency might also benefit from mindfulness training.
aim To assess the effects that a mindfulness course has on perceived stress and empathy in psychiatrists in residency.
method In this pilot study 13 trainees in psychiatric residency participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness. Before and after the training, 11 of the participants completed questionnaires relating to their empathy, perceived stress and mindfulness.
results Participants reported experiencing considerably more empathy after their course than before it. Perceived stress also diminished, but not significantly.
conclusion The results support our suggestion that mindfulness training can be a valuable part of the curriculum for trainees in psychiatric residency.