The process of coping with stress by Taiwanese medical interns: A qualitative study Approaches to teaching and learning

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© 2016 Liu et al. Background: Internship, the transition period from medical student to junior doctor, is highly stressful for interns in the West; however, little is known about the experience of interns in coping with stress in Taiwan. This study aimed to develop a model for coping with stress among Taiwanese interns and to examine the relationship between stress and learning outcomes. Methods: For this qualitative study, we used grounded theory methodology with theoretical sampling. We collected data through in-depth interviews and participant observations. We employed the constant comparative method to analyse the data until data saturation was achieved. Results: The study population was 124 medical interns in a teaching hospital in northern Taiwan; 21 interns (12 males) participated. Data analysis revealed that the interns encountered stressors (such as sense of responsibility, coping with uncertainty, and interpersonal relationships) resulting from their role transition from observer to practitioner. The participants used self-directed learning and avoidance as strategies to deal with their stress. Conclusions: A self-directed learning strategy can be beneficial for an intern's motivation to learn as well as for patient welfare. However, avoiding stressors can result in less motivation to learn and hinder the quality of care. Understanding how interns experience and cope with stress and its related outcomes can help medical educators and policy makers improve the quality of medical education by encouraging interns' self-directed learning strategy and discouraging the avoidance of stressors.




Liu, C. H., Tang, W. R., Weng, W. H., Lin, Y. H., & Chen, C. Y. (2016). The process of coping with stress by Taiwanese medical interns: A qualitative study Approaches to teaching and learning. BMC Medical Education, 16(1).

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