Medical Student Wellness
The UFCOM Office of Medical Education is dedicated to supporting the development of competent, compassionate physicians who are equipped to manage the challenges of a medical career. We recognize this profession can be demanding and that healthy physicians are better able to thrive in their clinical, educational, and research endeavors. As a result, there are ongoing efforts to improve the educational experience for our students. Some of these initiatives are described below:
Culture of Wellness
- Medical students are encouraged to complete a monthly wellness screening to assess their functioning and identify whether they might benefit from accessing available resources.
- All medical students are assigned to a Collaborative Learning Group (CLG) with a consistent faculty advisor across all four years of school. Goals of the CLG include:
- Fostering a supportive environment to promote mental, physical, and emotional wellness through peer and faculty support
- Creating a safe space to discuss sensitive personal and professional topics
- Developing a professional identity (includes lifelong learning skills)
- All students participate in a longitudinal wellness curriculum during CLG, which involves weekly 30-minute activities focusing on self-care, time management, optimizing study skills, meditation, and a variety of other activities to promote well-being.
- The curriculum utilizes pass-fail grading during the first 2 years to decrease competition and increase cooperation among students.
- Formal policies allow excused absences from mandatory educational activities in order to access necessary health care: https://osa.med.ufl.edu/policies-procedures/
- The second floor of the HSC Library is accessible by keycard only for students in the health science center colleges to provide access to a safe and quiet place for study on a 24-hour basis: https://library.health.ufl.edu/about-us/library-user-policies/24hr-study-space/
- The Assistant Dean for Medical Education facilitates monthly student advocacy meetings with other student leaders from each of the UF COM programs (MD, PA, MD/PhD, MS, PhD).
- The medical student class Executive Committees are working to expand wellness activities and create a calendar of wellness-related events for students to access.
- COMmunity student interest group was developed “to provide opportunities for the sharing of experiences, concerns, questions, advice, and stories with a mind towards building a supportive student community and reducing the stigma associated with talking about many of the struggles students face: https://mcc.med.ufl.edu/organizations/community/
- A variety of student organizations exist to encourage activities/hobbies both within and outside of medicine while fostering positive relationships among students: https://mcc.med.ufl.edu/organizations/
- Opportunities to provide volunteer medical care through the Equal Access Clinic, Mobile Outreach Clinic, and international outreach trips provide inspiration and promote joy in medicine: https://equalaccess.med.ufl.edu/
- Medical students with and without families have access to convenient housing in the newly-developed Continuum Graduate/Professional Community: https://www.thecontinuumforufgrads.com/
- The International Student Center serves as a central resource for international students regarding visa status, as well as resources and benefits they are eligible for during their stay in the United States: https://internationalcenter.ufl.edu/international-students-scholars/new-international-scholars
Efficiency of Practice (Learning)
- Access to the “GatorMedicine Center for Excellence in Studying” student-run website designed to help make studying as productive/efficient as possible: https://sites.google.com/view/gatormedicine/home
- The medical student course calendar is set up at least a semester in advance, allowing students to plan ahead for family obligations and other responsibilities. The use of ILIOS provides a personalized student view to maximize clarity of the calendar.
- The basic science curriculum exhibits an intentional curricular structure, where basic science didactics are integrated with discussion of relevant clinical cases and development of corresponding clinical skills in CLG.
- Curriculum is limited in required “face time” to allow students maximum time for studying and pursuit of practical interests.
- Use of “flipped classroom” teaching style helps to maximize comprehension/retention of information and improve critical thinking skills related to clinical decision-making.
- Lectures are videotaped and posted online through e-Learning to allow students to watch at their convenience, and review while studying. Lectures can be accessed from anywhere and are available within 4 hours from the time the live lecture is completed.
- Lecture notes are posted online in advance of the class session, allowing students to preview/review material to improve their learning.
- The CLG program provides opportunities for small group learning in the development of clinical skills.
- Students participate in patient simulations and standardized patient interactions beginning in their first year in order to gain practical experience.
- First year medical students complete a clinical Preceptorship in December, giving them early exposure and experience to live patients in an outpatient primary care setting.
- Second year students are allotted 6-8 weeks of dedicated Step 1 study time to prepare for the exam.
- Tutoring service are available for medical students who need assistance with their coursework: https://osa.med.ufl.edu/tutoring/tutoring-request-form/
- The Public Speaking Lab offers assistance to medical students seeking to develop effective speaking skills. The speech lab is a free service and provides an opportunity for individuals to brush up on this critical communication skill: https://cwoc.ufl.edu/programs/public-speaking-lab/about-the-public-speaking-lab/
- Medical students may elect to participate in the Promoting Resilience in Medicine [PRIMe] Discovery Track, which focuses on the application of mind-body medicine techniques to promote personal well-being as well as improved patient care: https://discovery.education.med.ufl.edu/research-track/discovery-tracks/promoting-resilience-in-medicine-prime/
- The Office of Student Counseling & Development provides confidential, short-term, personal counseling to the graduate, medical, and physician assistant students in the College of Medicine: https://counseling.med.ufl.edu/
- The UF Counseling & Wellness Center offers a number of mental health services for graduate students, including psychiatry and psychotherapy, groups, workshops, and other resources: https://counseling.ufl.edu/
- All medical students in Florida who are struggling with a potentially-impairing condition have access to the resources offered by the Professionals Resource Network, Inc., which provides advocacy and monitoring services to help licensed health care professionals succeed in their path to recovery: http://www.flprn.org/
- The Student Health Care Center offers primary and specialty care services for students at the University of Florida: http://shcc.ufl.edu/
- UF GatorWell offers a number of health promotion services and resources for students in the UF Community and their spouses: http://gatorwell.ufsa.ufl.edu/
- The UFCOM, UF Health, the University of Florida, and Alachua County/Gainesville have a huge variety of wellness-related resources available for medical students. Check out the resources hub here: https://wellness.med.ufl.edu/resources/
*Access to 24/7 Crisis Services offered through U Matter We Care program: https://counseling.ufl.edu/services/crisis/