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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 179-188

Perceived stress and burnout among medical students during the clinical period of their education

1 Public Health Department, College of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
2 Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
3 Surgery Department, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
4 Anesthesia and Intensive Care, College of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt, Egypts

Correspondence Address:
Tarek Shams
Anesthesia and Intensive Care, College of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1947-489X.210543

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Background: Transition from pre-clinical to clinical training has been identified as a crucial stage of medical education regarding student stress. When entering the clinical environs, students may become more prone to burnout. Aims: This study aimed to determine the prevalence, sources and predictors of high stress levels and burnout among medical students at King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia, during the clinical phase of medical education. Subjects and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of medical students in years four through six at Al-Ahsa Medical College during the academic year 2011-12 was performed. All 324 regular course attendants were invited to participate in the study and 233 participated (response rate of 71.9%). A self-reported questionnaire was used which covered three categories, including 18 sources of stress. Short Perceived Stress Scale and Emotional Exhaustion Subscale of Maslach Burnout Inventory were used to measure stress and burnout. Result: Sixth year students were more likely to cite relationship, hospital, and professional issues as stressors. Top stressors cited by final year students were concern about the future, defective clinical practice skills, fear of harming patients, and high parental expectations. Whereas first year students cited stressors such as transportation problems to hospital, fear of infection, and time limitations for training. The prevalence of emotional exhaustion and high levels of perceived stress was 76.8 and 71.7% respectively. Year of study was the only single independent risk factor for burnout and high levels of stress among students of clinical years. Conclusions: Clinical phase of medical education is a necessary area of intervention in order to provide an improved transition between pre-clinical and clinical periods. In addition, adoption of a new curriculum that integrates pre-clinical and clinical training of students from an early stage of education may reduce the stress.

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