Towards an understanding of medical student resilience in longitudinal integrated clerkships

Jennene Greenhill, Kenneth Fielke, Janet Richards, Leesa Walker, Lucie Walters

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Resilience is required to succeed academically, overcome challenges during clinical training and cope positively with stress in future professional life. With medical students at high risk of mental illness, socially accountable medical schools are seeking to foster student resilience. This exploratory study proposes a conceptual framework for student resilience in longitudinal integrated clerkships (LICs). Methods: This qualitative study sought to understand student resilience during the first year of clinical training in a rural LIC where there were consistent anecdotal reports of high student resilience. In-depth interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 19 medical students, professional staff and clinician teachers. An interpretive approach was used to analyse the data with emerging concepts compared to define evolving theoretical constructs, and develop a conceptual framework. Results: LIC students experienced adversity during the first clinical year of the medical course due to challenges encountered in the learning environment. This distress was moderated by: a secure, supportive learning environment; their profound learning journey; and utilisation of organisational structures to stay on course. Conclusion: This triad of inter-related themes forms a conceptual model that challenges simplistic notions that medical courses should focus solely on providing tangible and emotional supports for students. How LIC programs may contribute to student wellbeing is discussed through the lenses of agentic, reflective and transformative learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number137
    Number of pages9
    JournalBMC Medical Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • Agentic learning
    • Interpretive approach
    • Longitudinal integrated clerkship
    • Medical education
    • Medical student
    • Resilience
    • Social learning theory
    • Transformative learning theory


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