University Of Tasmania

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Problems presented by medical students seeking support: A possible intervention framework

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 03:38 authored by Richard HaysRichard Hays, Lawson, M, Gray, C

Background: Academically bright and ambitious medical students must cope with a combination of curriculum, assessment, career choice, personal, family and social pressures. Many seek support, and some present complex problems that consume substantial resources. A few continue unresolved into postgraduate life and may affect future professional performance. Early intervention may be helpful in minimising the impact on both individual students and school resources.

Aim: To develop a broad classification framework for personal problems presented by medical students to student support services.

Methods: We report a study of more complex student problems presenting to student support services. A three stage iterative process, involving student support faculty from several international medical schools, discussed case scenarios based on pooled experience and developed a framework for categorising and considering management.

Results: Seven profiles of student problems were developed, based on composites of unidentified cases drawn from participants’ experiences, reflecting: immaturity; learning skills; organisational skills; health or personal issues and poor insight. Broad characteristics and brief prognostic comments are provided for each profile.

Discussion: While profiles may overlap and each student may have a unique set of issues, there appears to be similarities that allow some categorisation for management strategies and prognostic features in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. Further work is needed to develop ‘diagnostic’ assessments that might guide intervention.

Conclusion: This classification may assist early intervention into personal problems presented by medical students to student support services.


Publication title

Medical Teacher








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 Informa UK Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health education and promotion

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    University Of Tasmania