A Mindfulness Workshop for Health Science Graduate
Students: Preliminary Evidence for Lasting Impact on
Annette Willgens, PT, MA, EdD, and Kerstin Palombaro, PT, PhD, CAPS
Introduction. Health science graduate
students take high stakes examinations
and experience stress and burnout, which
can negatively inﬂuence performance
in clinical courses. e intent of this study
was to pilot a curriculum in mindful
practice for graduate health science stu-
dents under high levels of perceived stress.
e purpose of this study was to determine
the eﬀectiveness of an abbreviated mind-
fulness workshop to determine if it would
provide lasting beneﬁt for students during
clinical experiences 9 months later.
Methods. Twenty-three graduate students
across 4 health professions participated in
a 6-week workshop for stress management
in March 2017. Students were executed
to practice mindfulness activities for 15
minutes daily over the 6 weeks. Weekly
meetings included meditation, mindful
movement, and small group discussion. A
mixed methods approach incorporated
pre- and postworkshop measures exploring
students’levels of worry, perceived stress,
feelings of isolation, self-judgment, self-
kindness, overidentiﬁcation, and mindful-
ness. Additional survey data were collected
9 months later to determine if the tools
learned in the workshop inﬂuenced clinical
performance. Qualitative comments were
coded using generic qualitative analysis,
and member checking conﬁrmed themes.
Results. Overall, students demonstrated
improvements in all measures of stress
over the 6-week workshop. Additionally,
they reported positive inﬂuences on clin-
ical performance in the aﬀective and cog-
nitive domains 9 months later. Four main
themes were extracted from the data. ese
were I Have Tools;ink, Pause, Allow;
Silence the Critic;and,I Am Not Alone.
Overall, the participants experienced signif-
icant improvements in mindfulness scores
and self-compassion, and showed improve-
ments in perceived stress and worry (Cog-
nitive-Aﬀective Mindfulness Scale-revised).
Discussion and Conclusion. Altogether,
these data suggest that (1) graduate stu-
dents can learn to manage worry, feelings
of isolation, and self-judgment using tools
and strategies from mindful practices; (2)
students who practice mindfulness in a 6-
week workshop report lasting eﬀects dur-
ing clinical performance 9 months later;
and (3) students beneﬁt from a commu-
nity of peers and a shared space to share
their thoughts and feelings as emerging
health professionals. Suggestions are made
for integrating mindful practices into
graduate health science education.
Key Words: Graduate health professions,
Students, Stress, Mindfulness, Mixed
Health science graduate students take high
stakes written and performance-based exami-
nations and feel high levels of stress and
Without easily accessible resources,
this may lead to anxiety, depression,
passion fatigue, and burnout before they even
In fact, empathy has been shown
to decrease in graduate physical therapy edu-
cation, likely due to burnout.
also learning to adjust to a new professional
identity. ey must integrate didactic informa-
tion with clinical learning, and they are con-
cerned about future plans and growing debt.
When experiencing distress, students can
seek out counseling services on university
campuses. However, not all students who may
beneﬁt from mental health care take advan-
tage of it due to long days in class, limited
time, stigma, and shame.
counseling centers are overﬂowing with in-
creasing numbers of referrals, and students
have to wait for services.
According to the
Centers for Disease Control, suicide rates
have increased 30% between 1999 and 2016,
and it is the second leading cause of death in
students aged 18–25 years.
students, 300–400 take their lives each year,
with male suicide rates higher than female
Data on physician assistant,
nursing, and physical therapy students are not
available, but students aged 18–25 years were
among the highest to “strongly consider”but
not perform suicide.
Students who participate in supervised
mindfulness practice, as in a workshop, cur-
ricular thread, online course, or course series,
have improved mental health as compared
with those who have singular educational
experiences (ie, one lecture).
has been shown that stand-alone mindfulness
workshops are highly beneﬁcial for student
stress, anxiety, and depression, even without
being integrated into a larger therapeutic pro-
It is becoming clear that traditional
models of mental health care in the university
setting are not reaching enough of the pop-
and that mindfulness is an evidence-
based solution in graduate student education.
is is the ﬁrst study to explore the in-
ﬂuence of a brief mindfulness workshop on
graduate health science students’stress and
subsequent clinical performance.
questions included the following: (1) Does
a mindfulness workshop positively inﬂuence
health science graduate students’levels of
stress? (2). Does a mindfulness workshop
provide lasting stress management skills
during clinical coursework 9 months later? (3)
How does the multidisciplinary nature of the
workshop inﬂuence students, if at all?
Annette Willgens Associate Clinical Professor,
College of Public Health, Department of Physical
erapy, Temple University, Cecil B. Moore Ave,
Philadelphia, PA 19122 (annette.willgens@temple.
edu). Pleaseaddress all correspondence to Annette
Kerstin Palombaro Associate Professor, In-
stitute for Physical erapy Education, Widener
University, Chester, PA.
e authors declare no conﬂicts of interest.
Received June 16, 2018, and accepted November
Supplemental digital content is available for this
article. Direct URL citations appear in the
printed text and are provided in the HTML and
PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web
Copyright © 2019 Academy of Physical erapy
Vol 33, No 2, 2019Journal of Physical Therapy Education144
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Stress and anxiety in health science graduate
students has been linked to decreased aca-
demic performance, decreased conﬁdence,
and poor professionalism in the clinic.
Graduate school is a time of personal growth,
but excess stress can negatively inﬂuence
In physical ther-
apy education, the concept of self-care is often
left to the student, or it is addressed using
cognitive–behavioral approaches that limit
the personal insight needed to dampen the
sympathetic nervous system.
that the brain–body connection is not yet
a deliberate addition to health science grad-
uate education. However, the hypothalamic–
and, more recently,
the neural–hematopoetic–arterial axis
lustrate the need to develop a lifelong practice
of self-care to minimize the eﬀects of stress
over the lifespan. Health science graduate
students often exercise to address distressing
thoughts and emotions, but without tools to
address maladaptive thought patterns, exer-
cise becomes a temporary solution for the
ongoing rumination and worry.
Mindfulness is deﬁned as paying attention,
in a particular way, with nonjudgmental
It includes meditation, which
has been shown to enhance attention by way
of the anterior cingulate cortex and improve
emotion regulation by way of the fronto-
Mindful practices teach
the student to self-regulate so that the auto-
nomic nervous system can be restored
to its proper function.
awareness, students perceive threat based on
uncertainty and anticipation (clinical cour-
ses, examinations, laboratory practicals).
Table 1. Relationship Between Research Questions and Methodology
Research Question Methodology Method
1. Does a mindfulness workshop positively
inﬂuence health science graduate students’
levels of stress?
Descriptive statistics 1. Examine scores on measures of stress,
worry, mindfulness, and self-care
Generic qualitative analysis 2. Ensure that qualitative comments support
quantitative data analysis
2. Does a mindfulness workshop provide
lasting stress management skills during
clinical coursework 9 months later?
Generic qualitative data analysis 3. Analyze qualitative comments in response
to an online survey sent after the students
have completed clinical practice courses
3. How does the multidisciplinary nature of
the workshop inﬂuence students, if at all?
Generic qualitative data analysis 4. Determine whether qualitative comments
support, remain neutral to, or deny the inﬂuence
of a multidisciplinary approach to stress
management in health care graduate students
Table 2. Measures Used in Data Collection
Measure Description Rationale Psychometric Properties Sample Questions
The Cognitive Affective
A 10-item self-report
measure that is scored on
a Likert scale of 1 (“rarely
or not at all”)to4
Used to determine the
level of mindfulness
before and after the
discriminant validity in
“I can accept things I
Perceived Stress Scale
A norm-referenced test
of 10 items in which
students are compared
to one another using
criteria from 0 (never) to
4 (very often)
Used to determine levels
of stress reactivity
factorial validity, and
hypothesis validity on
college students (high
“In the last month, how
often have you been
upset because of
Penn State Worry
A 16-item, self-report
measure using a Likert
scale of 1 (“not at all
typical of me”)to5
(“very typical of me”)
Used to determine levels
of worry and preferred
the word “worry”to the
and convergent and
with high speciﬁcity in
How I typically act
toward myself in
A compassion scale of 26
items that include the
following subscores: self-
and overidentiﬁcation. It
is scored on a Likert scale
of 1 (“almost never”)to5
Used to determine levels
of self-compassion in the
context of everyday
“When I fail at
to me, I become
consumed by feelings
Vol 33, No 2, 2019 Journal of Physical Therapy Education 145
Copyright © 2019 Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
Students often admit to feeling hypervigilant
and experiencing excess negativity,
can create a snowball eﬀect in the clinical
In contrast, students who practice mind-
fulness may develop more insight through
decentering and reperceiving,
a broader view of one self to be able to see the
contents of the mind (self-criticism, self-
judgment, negativity bias) more clearly.
Meta-analysis has shown that mindfulness
meditation practices bring about signiﬁcant
eﬀects in reducing physical and psychological
symptoms of perceived stress, depression, and
It also helps students cope better
with university life,
enhance cognitive performance.
Mindfulness practices include breath-
focused meditation and body scanning, which
activates lateralized neural circuits that involve
the somatosensory cortex
and thereby the
is internal shift allows two
critical elements of mindfulness to evolve. e
ﬁrst is self-regulation.
As the student learns
to meditate, they begin to notice thought pat-
terns and thereby gain wisdom to manage
these thoughts more skillfully.
practice, the student develops increased
objectivity and granularity of incoming emo-
tional data (ie, is there sadness or disappoint-
19,2 2, 23
is allows for more ﬂexible
feeling states and reinforces the transient na-
ture of emotion.
ment of mindfulness teaches students how they
relate to personal experience.
nonjudgment and self-compassion, the student
can dampen the sympathetic nervous
to establish more accurate self-
and a heightened sense of personal
Training in meditation may provide more
eﬃcient access to executive control centers
during the type of cognitive demand experi-
enced in the clinic.
When competing with
alternate sources of attention (mind-
wandering, stress, feedback), the experienced
meditator can volitionally return to the task or
situation with more clarity and emotional
stability. For example, as a student sits in class,
their focus naturally shifts over the course of
several hours. e mind wanders in a self-
reﬂective state, often tied to negative pro-
cessing, past focus, and future focus.
student steadies the mind, returning it to the
lecturer, s/he creates a habit of shifting be-
tween mind-wandering and focused atten-
tion. In contrast, the student who practices
meditation trains the mind for focused
awareness. So, when the mind wanders, they
become aware of the change in mind states
more quickly, allowing for volitional control
and return to attention.
It is suggested that
the prefrontal cortex acts as a “hub”that can
couple with neural networks more eﬃciently
based on the student clinician’s needs in the
moment (classroom vs clinical setting).
However, a restless mind that does not prac-
tice mindfulness meditation has less de-
veloped regions (and therefore connections)
associated with focused awareness (anterior
insula) and open monitoring (prefrontal
During clinical performance, the
student who has not practiced mindfulness
meditation may struggle more with mind-
wandering, mood/aﬀect, and skillful shifting
between brain states, especially under cogni-
Another way that mindful awareness can
be useful is amid a student’s strong achieve-
ment orientation often found in health sci-
ence graduate students.
the student can become aware of attachment
to grades, maladaptive perfectionism, and
worry, so that they can ﬁlter the eﬀects of
these during clinical performance. As the
neural attention networks are no longer
hijacked by negativity, students may gain
conﬁdence from increased self-regulation.
In health sciences education, graduate stu-
dents have little opportunity to communicate
Active listening, reﬂective
responses, tolerating uncertainty, managing
conﬂict, and practicing authenticity are rarely
practiced as part of the formal curriculum,
which may create a culture of isolation. In
physical therapy curricula, for example, stu-
dents practice regular communication with
other physical therapy students and some-
times practice interprofessional communica-
tion, but rarely do they have the opportunity
to speak about worry, fear, stress, conﬂict, and
attention, deep listening, and personal
awareness so that students begin to notice the
desire to interrupt or turn the conversation
toward themselves. ey practice tolerance to
distress and awareness of how it feels to be
a listener. Having been trained to be concise
(as compared to descriptive or elaborative),
health care graduate students exhibit short-
ened and more objective communication.
is may limit their ability to express
thoughts and feelings within a clinical envi-
ronment, relate to the perspective of another
health care provider, or communicate their
own needs and expectations in the workplace.
e Drexel University Internal Review Board
approved this study. Using convenience
Figure 1. Summary of study method and process.
Table 3. Student Discipline and Clinical Coursework 9 Months After the Workshop
Discipline/Major # Of Students
Clinical Coursework 9 Months After
Physical Therapy 9 Full-time clinical experience of 6 wk
Creative Arts Therapy 5 Full-time clinical experience of 3 mo
Nutrition Sciences (PhD) 5 Full-time clinical experience of 6 wk
Physician Assistant 4 Full-time clinical experience of 3 mo
Vol 33, No 2, 2019Journal of Physical Therapy Education146
Copyright © 2019 Academy of Physical Therapy Education, APTA Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
sampling within the Drexel University Col-
lege of Nursing and Health Professions,
graduate students were recruited to volun-
tarily participate in a 6-week workshop for
stress management. Table 1 represents the
relationship between research questions,
methodology, and method.
Process and Recruitment
A workshop ﬂyer titled, “Got Stress?”was sent
to all students in the College of Nursing and
Health Professions in the following programs:
nurse anesthesia, creative arts therapies,
physician assistant, physical therapy, couple
and family therapy, and nutrition science. As
a physical therapy faculty member, the
scheduling for the workshop most easily met
the physical therapy students’schedules and
therefore their ability to participate in the
workshop. e scheduling did not match
nurse anesthesia or other nursing disciplines
because they are mainly online programs.
Many students expressed interest but were in
class during the workshop and could not
participate, causing an unequal distribution of
eﬂyer provided program goals for stress
management, the time commitment, and the
need to collect data before and after the work-
shop and again after the student attended clin-
ical coursework. Clinical coursework was
deﬁned as any period of immersion in a clinical
setting for at least 6 weeks that would require the
student to perform skills and be evaluated using
a formal assessment process. A yoga studio was
secured on campus for the 6 weekly, noon-time
meetings of 50-minute duration. eworkshop
(Appendix, Supplemental Digital Content 1,
http://links.lww.com/JOPTE/A46) was de-
livered in the Winter term and students’clinical
coursework occurred in the Fall term, 9 months
later. Data were collected at 3 points: 1-week
before the start of the workshop (4 outcome
measures), immediately after the ﬁnal day of
workshop (4 outcome measures), and immedi-
ately after the student’sclinicalexperience
(Qualtrics survey link sent by email). ecur-
riculum for the workshop was modiﬁed from
the author’s previously published mindfulness
to ﬁt into the reduced time frame
(Appendix, Supplemental Digital Content 1,
were required to maintain daily practice logs. If
students showed evidence of less than 5 days of
practice, they were invited to complete the
workshop, but their data were not used.
Each session began with breath-based
meditation and body scan,
a brief teaching moment.
tivities included mindful eating
in the form of slow, intentional
walking and gentle yoga. e theory is that
attention moves with movement of the body
with direct connections within neural circuits
for motor planning and spatial attention.
Because health science graduate students are
often required to sit still for long periods and
because they are often distracted, the yoga and
mindful walking provided an integrated way to
Each session also in-
cluded mindful communication in dyads or
small groups, with someone “you have not met
Twenty-ﬁve students emailed the author
within the ﬁrst day, and a waitlist was created
for another 17 students. One student dropped
out of the workshop on the day before the start.
Waitlisted students were contacted, but they
chose to defer citing “no time”to participate or
did not respond in time for the start date of the
workshop. One student did not submit the
practice log, so his or her data were not used.
Participants were asked to complete 15
minutes of mindfulness practice every day.
ey could choose from one or more of the
following practices: meditation with focus on
the breath, body scan, mindful movement/
walking, mindful eating, and yoga. Practice
logs encouraged students to document their
time spent on a speciﬁc activity and brieﬂy
journal their thoughts and feelings. At ﬁrst,
Web-based resources were emailed to stu-
dents (meditation and body scan), but as the
workshop progressed, they shared additional
resources with one another and discovered
resources that worked best for them. Twenty-
three of 24 practice logs were collected, and all
students documented a daily practice of 15
Table 4. Frequency of Mindfulness
Practices From Student Practice Logs
Body scan: guided n=21
Seated meditation: guided n=19
Mindful meals (silent) n=19
Yoga group class n=9
Mindful walking (silent) n=6
Seated meditation: not
Yoga home video n=3
Body scan: not guided n=2
Table 5. Pre- and Posttest Means and Standard Deviations of Quantitative Measures
Measure (n= 23)
Mean SD Mean SD
The Cognitive Affective Mindfulness Scale-
24.7 4.4 29.2
Perceived Stress Scale
25.9 4.0 20.9
Penn State Worry Questionnaire
55.6 10.9 44.8
How I typically act toward myself in difﬁcult times
Kindness subscale 13.6 3.4 18.0
Self-judgment subscale 17.3 2.6 12.6
Isolation subscale 15.3 2.7 10.5
Mindfulness subscale 11.9 3.1 15.8
Overidentiﬁcation subscale 14.3 3.2 10.3
Vol 33, No 2, 2019 Journal of Physical Therapy Education 147
It was important to ensure that all students’
pretest, posttest, and survey data were collected
anonymously because the position of one of the
authors as Director of Clinical Education may
have biased students’comments. Survey data
were collected using Qualtrics, an online survey
tool that allows researchers to design, collect,
and analyze participant responses using anon-
ymous methods. All pretest and posttest qual-
itative data were collected using this
A mixed methods approach included pre-
workshop, postworkshop, and postclinical
measures to determine students’levels of
worry, perceived stress, feelings of isolation,
self-judgment, self-kindness, overidentiﬁcation
(rumination or magniﬁcation of negativity),
and mindfulness. See Table 2 for information
on outcome measures used.
On the last day of the workshop, students
were asked to respond to an anonymous
survey link that was sent with the following
three questions: How has the program
changed the way you manage daily stress, if at
all? What were the most valuable lessons or
tools for you and why? How did the presence
of other health professions students inﬂuence
you during this workshop, if at all?
Upon completion of the posttest survey,
students were sent a ﬁnal list of resources for
continued practice. ese included the Head-
space app, Insight Timer app, and Sound
Cloud for free online access to meditation and
body scans. It was recommended that students
subscribe to a daily e-magazine, Mindful.org,
which includes short tips, practices, and arti-
cles on a variety of mindfulness topics.
Post Clinical Survey
Post–clinical survey data were collected at the
9-month postworkshop mark, which varied
minimally across students. is anonymous
survey contained the following question: How
did the tools you learned in the mindfulness
workshop support your performance in the
clinical setting, if at all?
Qualitative comments from all three peri-
ods were coded and categorized using generic
Generic analysis requires
an inductive process of reading (survey) data,
code meaningful statements related to the re-
search question, cluster codes to create themes,
and return to the data to ensure that support-
ing text is consistent across participants. In the
ﬁnal step, the themes are synthesized to form
interpretations that inform the quantitative
called this the equivalent status
design in which both methodologies are used
to understand and uncover the research ques-
tions. Study participants agreed to member
check by responding to an email to verify
statements and ﬁnal themes. All participants
agreed with the themes identiﬁed. Figure 1
illustrates the study method in a visual format.
SPSS version 23 was used for quantitative
data analysis. Descriptive statistics were run
the variables of interest. A Wilcoxon’ssigned
ranks test was performed on all pretest and
posttest data, due to the use of convenience
Fifteen female and 8 male subjects completed
the workshop. Mean age was 26.2 (63.0)
Table 6. Generic Qualitative Analysis: Post Workshop
Theme Examples of Data Support for Theme
I have tools I Have more resources to address it rather than
feeling helpless when presented with high stress
I Really enjoyed the meditation for working with
difﬁculties because mystress usually manifests itself in
very real physical ways that effect my body, and this
meditation helped me recognize where in my body
the stress was, helping me to label it and relieve it.
All of the techniques taught in this workshop were
valuable to create a toolbox for me to try out
different things and see what worked best for me. I
took the most value from the body scanning and
watching the breath.
Pause, think, allow I Have been able to approach situations that may
overwhelm me one step at a time.
I don’t get as anxious when things don’tgoas
planned and I am not upset for as long. I liked the
concept of “being with”whatever arises. And
“attend and befriend”is now stuck to my frig, as
a daily reminder.
I Started to stop and think before responding. I now
know that my anxious brain tries to trick me and I
have to check if the story I am telling myself is true or
Silence the critic By stopping the (self) judgment, I reduced my levels
of self-doubt. Treating yourself like you would treat
a puppy or small child was a powerful visual for me.
One of the biggest takeaways was the concept of not
allowing fear to run your life. When I stopped
studying out of fear and began to study with the
intention of becoming a better practitioner,
everything shifted and my anxiety before high-
pressure situations decreased signiﬁcantly. Stopping
the mean voice in my head was huge.
I Am not alone I liked the activity in class where we partnered up with
students we didn’t know. After 2 y with the same
group, you forget to be anything but a “PT student.
When we partnered and got to speak freely I thought
that was incredibly interesting to speak to someone
outside my major because they had the same stress as
me, the same examination anxiety. You get such
tunnel vision. Knowing that complete strangers feel
the same way as me helped me not feel so alone.
I Used to think it was only me, I must be the student
with the lowest GPA so I lacked conﬁdence but the
partner and group work helped me to see-literally
looking at a new partner each week and hearing how
they had the same feelings as me was so helpful.
Vol 33, No 2, 2019Journal of Physical Therapy Education148
years. Table 3 includes student numbers by
discipline and clinical experience time.
Student practice logs were collected and
analyzed for frequency, duration, and the type
of mindfulness practices. Table 4 represents
the data collected in order of most to least
frequent. During the workshop, students were
encouraged to practice mindfulness medita-
tion and body scan daily, eat one mindful
meal daily, and walk mindfully without talk-
ing or listening to music. Students were told to
experiment with what worked best for them in
the ﬁrst week, then continue with that method
for the duration of the 6 weeks. erefore,
analysis only included weeks 2–6.
Data from Table 4 illustrates that students
preferred to use guided meditation and body
scan, stating that it was preferred with the
support of an app. Several students stated
that they did not practice mindful eating
because they preferred speaking with
roommates and friends as a way to relieve
stress, and they “forgot”to walk mindfully
(slowly) because they would often walk with
friends to class or be in a hurry to get to class
on time. Students who did yoga often com-
bined this form of mindful movement with
focused breathing and body scan in a 30-
to 60-minute class or home video practice.
After the mindfulness sessions, participants
experienced signiﬁcant improvements in
mindfulness and self-compassion scores
and decreases in perceived stress and worry.
ey demonstrated increased Kindness and
Mindfulness subscales with decreases noted
in self-judgment, isolation, and over-
identiﬁcation (Table 5).
Table 6 represents themes drawn from the
survey data and analyzed using generic
qualitative data analysis. Four themes are
represented with examples of data support
After clinical coursework (9 months post
workshop), students responded to one ﬁnal
open-ended, anonymous survey question:
How did the tools you learned in the mind-
fulness workshop support your performance
in the clinical setting, if at all? (Table 7).
is pilot study conﬁrmed all three of the
research questions. Indeed, a brief mindful-
ness program can positively inﬂuence gradu-
ate students’levels of stress. Additionally, the
interdisciplinary nature of the workshop
conﬁrmed for students that they have more in
common than they realized, diminishing their
feelings of isolation over time. e most sig-
niﬁcant ﬁnding was that the mindfulness
workshop made a lasting impression, even 9
months later, to positively inﬂuence students’
self-care during full-time clinical coursework.
Having established a daily practice for 6
weeks, students not only retained the skills
they learned in the workshop but they also
applied them in the clinic. is ﬁnding is
consistent with studies that have demon-
strated positive results using mindfulness for
physician stress and burnout.
e limitations of this study included a small
sample size and limited prior research on the
connection between stress and clinical per-
formance in health professions students. A
control group would have added to the
trustworthiness of the study. Exploring dif-
ferences based on practice setting, age of the
student, GPA, and other data sources would
have added depth to this study. Open-ended
survey questions could have been posed in
a more neutral fashion. Variation in mindful
practices prevents generalizability. Biases may
have surfaced in the coding of the qualitative
survey statements, although students partici-
pated in member checking and agreed with
the results obtained. Additionally, tri-
angulation of data was achieved with the
mixed methods approach. In the future, cor-
tisol samples, heart rate, and blood pressure
logs would be helpful to determine the phys-
Health sciences faculty members have a re-
sponsibility to provide easily accessible, evi-
dence-based strategies to support students
Recent studies support the use of mindful
practices in university students,
this is the ﬁrst study to track the inﬂuence and
application of stress management on physical
therapy, physician assistant, creative arts ther-
apy, and nutrition science graduate students.
Table 7. Post–Clinical Experience Survey Results
Response Options n=23
Percentages of Mindfulness Tools Used
During Clinical Immersion Representative Student Comments
The tools helped somewhat 2 Two students stated that they did not use
the tools speciﬁcally but did beneﬁt from
“I was still very stressed but it did not
paralyze me like it usually does. It’s
a process. If you don’t put in the time, you
don’t get the beneﬁts”
The tools helped a great deal 21 Students used reframing of their thoughts
and feelings and decreased judgment of
“I remembered S.T.O.P. when I made
a mistake in front of my (clinical)
instructor, or when I wished something
would have gone more smoothly, I didn’t
beat myself up as much”
Students stated they remembered to
describe and label thoughts and feelings
I Used R.A.I.N. to ask myself: is this
thought true or is it my critic talking?
Students stated they approached thoughts/
feelings with more kindness, which
“Just ﬁnding words to describe my
feelings was helpful”
Students used body scan and breathing
“I used my breathing and body scan every
day, especially in the beginning when I
wasn’t getting much feedback from my
CI, it helped me stay positive”
Students used a combination of recalling
their personal “mantra,”eating mindfully,
and moving mindfully
“I used the mantra everything doesn’t
have to be perfect or It’sok”
Vol 33, No 2, 2019 Journal of Physical Therapy Education 149
Anxiety and depression are increasing in prev-
alence in health science graduate students,
concepts such as maladaptive perfectionism,
and imposter syn-
must be openly discussed. Students
who experience these phenomena have an in-
creased risk of failure during clinical course-
work, may become unsafe during patient care,
and may struggle with critical thinking and
Individuals who practice
meditation may have more functional and
structural connectivity between the dorsolateral
prefrontal cortex, the insula cortex, and the
anterior cingulate cortex, which preserves ac-
curate self-assessment and critical thinking,
even under cognitive load.
Sharing these data with faculty members
may help to improve student safety, prevent
the need for remediation, and safeguard the
patient/client from errors associated with
faulty clinical reasoning. It may also help to
prevent chronic stress in future clinicians,
implement training for faculty to integrate
these practices into everyday coursework
and to more intentionally provide resources
while students attend clinical rotations oﬀ
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