Mindfulness in Medical Education

Preparing for the next round of teaching of Mindfulness and Resilience at King’s College London Medical School. An interesting article looking at the personality characteristics of medical students (highly perfectionist, competitive and conscientious!) but perhaps lacking the skills that will help them to stay healthy as they study and work.  There is a particular need now, with the uncertainty in the National Health System, to provide Tomorrow’s Doctors with the skills they need to thrive in this new health care environment. Do more for less is the cry from the management. Do less to do more is the mindful response.

Working with Dr Derek Chase we have piloted a 12 week elective course for medical students in Years 3 and 4. We use a small group format (12-15 students) to

1) train core mindfulness skills for personal well-being

2) develop applied mindfulness skills for immediate application in the health care setting and

3) share the neurocognitive model of mindfulness to aid conceptual understanding of what happens when we train in mindfulness and deepen their understanding of why mindfulness ‘works’ in so many different health contexts.

The work was written up as a Master Thesis for King’s College London (thanks to Jenny Sargent for her hard work and all the students who took part).

This TED talk ‘Even Doctors Make Mistakes’ by Brian Goldman is a great resource for medical students. It really helps to reduce the high levels of expectation and fear of failure that can cripple their creative and intellectual minds.


Monash University is really leading the way in this work, including offering some free on line courses.  More and more medical schools around the UK and worldwide are coming to the understanding that if we help the helpers, we can have more impact.


You can also see the amazing blog from one of the studethree emotionsnts in our first cohort, really opening his heart in an honest way …. The Anxious Medic. He has written a recent blog about love and compassion.  I want this guy to be my Doctor for sure!


Guess what?  Doctors have feelings too. We want to teach the next generation of doctors how to think AND feel at the same time. This is the real power of mindfulness.