A study about the educational interventions available for practising doctors to help them prevent stress.

View content

About the project

Unlike medical students, practising doctors are generally left to their own devices to cope with stress. As a result, stress seems to be more prevalent amongst doctors. While activities outside of work are important to maintain and enhance wellbeing, doctors also need to be able to engage with work in a ‘nourishing’ way. This research focusses on educational interventions intended to help doctors learn ways to recognise, prevent and manage the harmful effects of stress.

Following an approved National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) approach, the study has two components:

  • A systematic review concerning the existing evidence to determine the features of successful educational interventions on stress management for doctors, using EPPI 4 Reviewer software.
  • Three Focus Groups with eighteen medical educators concerning their experiences and views on workplace stress and interventions of use.

Findings overview

The first phase of the research, the systematic literature review, is now complete. The findings have been submitted for publication in a high-impact international medical education journal. 

Three broad clusters of interventions emerged from the analytic coding process:

  • Mindfulness-type
  • Coping- and solutions-focussed
  • Reflective groups

There is good evidence that the impact of educational interventions can be positive and help doctors deal with stress, but the contextual factors such as medical specialty may dictate which intervention should be used. A theory-based tool is advanced to help medical educators choose an appropriate educational intervention.

This is a University of Winchester Research and Knowledge Exchange-funded research project carried out by members of the University's interdisciplinary and collaborative Health and Wellbeing Research Group.


Literature and Dissemination

Award-winning poster presented at Royal College of General Practitioners Annual Primary Care Conference and Exhibition, October, 2016, Harrogate.  Locke, R., Lees, A., Scallan, S. Prevention of harmful stress amongst doctors

Locke, R. & Lees, A. (2017) Maintaining the wellbeing of clinicians, The Clinical Teacher 14(2): 147-148

Paper presented at International Association for Medical Education conference, Helsinki, August, 2017. Locke, R. Lees, A. and Scallan, S. Prevention of harmful stress amongst doctors

Paper presented at BERA conference, University of Sussex, 5-7 September 2017. Lees, A. & Locke R. Educational interventions to prevent harmful stress amongst doctors 

Poster prize Winner, Category CPD, DEMEC Conference, Manchester, 27-28 November 2017. Locke, R, Lees A and Scallan S. Prevention of harmful stress amongst doctors. Download the HAWRG stress prevention for doctors project poster.