Third year medical students’ perceptions of the “Values in Healthcare” selective module on their mental well-being: a pilot study from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU)

Tin Maung Maung, Yamin (2017-03)

Thesis (MPhil)-- Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Mental wellbeing is of particular concern in medical students, who exhibit high rates of distress during their training which may persist throughout their careers. Since medical students are reluctant to seek care, a proactive approach to their well-being may be of benefit. This study examined the enhancement of the mental well-being of medical students by attending an intervention programme piloted in 2016 at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. “Values in Healthcare” (VIHASA) is a human development programme aimed at helping healthcare professionals reflect on their own values in their personal and professional lives. The programme was delivered to third-year medical students who chose to participate in the optional selective module, which consisted of small group sessions facilitated by trained individuals including the researcher. Students explored themes of inner values; peace; positivity; compassion; cooperation; valuing the self and spirituality in healthcare. The aim of the study was to explore the extent to which the ‘Values in healthcare’ selective module intervention enhances mental well-being of medical students. The objectives of the study were to obtain a deeper understanding of the students’ experience of the module and how it related to their own mental well-being, and to provide recommendations with regard to future curriculum planning in terms of improving the mental well-being of medical students. The methods of the study include the following: to assess and compare the mental well-being of participants before and after the intervention using the quantitative Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS); and to conduct focus group interviews after the intervention as a qualitative measure to explore the students’ experiences. The eleven students differed in age, gender and home language. The WEMWBS score of all students improved after attending the module. Focus group discussions uncovered five major themes, namely perspectives about mental well-being; reasons for choosing the VIHASA module; experience of the module; self-awareness and recommendations. Both quantitative and qualitative results suggest an improvement in the mental well-being of participants. A key factor highlighted the extent to which the students’ awareness of the concepts of mental well-being, and in fact their awareness of their own mental well-being, increased. This study is the first investigation involving medical students in the VIHASA programme. However, the study sample is small and possibly represents a particular type of student such as those who are interested in the field of well-being or proactive enough to act on the demands they faced at medical school. A future study with a larger sample size is recommended and it may be worthwhile to investigate the persistence of results. Beginning proactive mental health programmes early in medical training may ingrain well-being strategies, which may in turn reduce the frequency and severity of burnout and improve patient care. The VIHASA module is one such opportunity and this study provides the groundwork to consider its incorporation into the medical school curriculum.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Geestelike welstand is van besondere belang in mediese studente wat tydens hul opleiding hoe vlakke van angstigheid toon, wat regdeur hul loopbane kan voortduur. Aangesien mediese studente huiwerig is om behandedling te verkry, mag ’n pro-aktiewe benadering tot hul welstand voordelig wees. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die verbetering van die geestelike welstand van mediese studente deur die bywoning van ’n ingrypingsprogram wat in 2016 by Sefako Makgatho Gesondheidswetenskappe Universiteit geloods is. "Waardes in Gesondheidsorg: [’n Geestelike Benadering (WIGGB)]” is ’n menslike ontwikkelingsprogram wat daarop gemik is om professionele verskaffers van gesondheidsorg te help om hul eie waardes in hul persoonlike en professionele lewens te weerspieel. Die program is aangebied vir derdejaar mediese studente wat gekies het om deel te neem aan die opsionele selektiewe module wat bestaan het uit kleingroepsessies gefasiliteer deur opgeleide individue, wat die die navorser ingesluit het. Studente het temas van innerlike waardes; vrede; positiwiteit; deernis; samewerking; waardering van die self en spiritualiteit in gesondheidsorg verken. Die doel van die studie was om die mate te verken waarin die "Waardes in gesondheidsorg” selektiewe module ingryping, die geestelike welstand van mediese studente verbeter. Die doelwitte van die studie was om 'n dieper begrip te verkry van die studente se ervaring van die module en hoe dit verband hou met hul eie geestelike welsyn, en om aanbevelings te verskaf ten opsigte van toekomstige kurrikulum beplanning in terme van die verbetering van die geestelike welstand van mediese studente. Die metodes van die studie sluit die volgende in: om die geestelike welstand van die deelnemers voor- en na die intervensie met behulp van die kwantitatiewe Warwick-Edinburgh geestelike welstandskaal (WEGWS) te bepaal en te vergelyk; en om na afhandeling van die ingryping, fokusgroeponderhoude te voer as 'n kwalitatiewe maatstaf om ervarings van die studente se verken. Die elf deelnemers het verskil in ouderdom, geslag en huistaal. Die WEGWS-tellings van al die studente het na bywoning van die module verbeter. Fokusgroepbesprekings het vyf groot temas uitgelig, naamlik perspektiewe oor geestelike welstand; redes vir die keuse van die WIGGB-module; ervaring van die module; selfbewustheid en aanbevelings. Beide kwantitatiewe- en kwalitatiewe resultate dui op ’n verbetering in die geestelike welstand van die deelnemers. ’n Belangrike faktor, wat die mate waarin die studente se bewustheid van die konsepte van geestelike welstand, en in werklikheid hul bewustheid van hul eie geestelike welstand uitlig, is verhoog. Hierdie studie is die eerste ondersoek waarby mediese studente in die WIGGB-program betrek is. Die studiemonster is egter klein en verteenwoordig moontlik ’n bepaalde soort student, soos die wat belangstel in die gebied van welstand of proaktiewe genoeg is om teen die eise wat hulle op mediese skool ervaar op te tree. ’n Toekomstige studie met ’n groter steekproefgrootte word aanbeveel en dit kan die moeite werd om die konsekwente, voortdurende resultate te ondersoek. Die proaktiewe daarstelling van geestesgesondheidsprogramme vroeg in die mediese opleiding kan help om welstandstrategiee te vestig, wat op hul beurt die frekwensie en erns van uitbranding kan verminder en pasientsorg kan verbeter. Die WIGGB-module is een so ’n geleentheid en hierdie studie verskaf die grondslag vir die oorweging van die insluiting hiervan in die mediese skool se kurrikulum.

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