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Chan GCT, Koh D
Correspondence: Dr Gregory Chan, email@example.com
Introduction This study aims to understand the physical and psychosocial work environment, expectations and the perceived levels of stress encountered of medical students in Singapore.
Methods A cross-sectional study employing a self-administered work environment questionnaire was applied over a one-week period to the entire 2003/2004 medical school cohort (1,069 students, response rate 85 percent) from the first to fifth (final) years at the National University of Singapore.
Results 3.3 percent had at least one needlestick injury within the academic year. The majority (especially the clinical students) also had musculoskeletal complaints (neck and back mainly) within the last three months. Using the General Health Questionnaire, it was found that 49.6 percent encountered significant stress and 64.6 percent reported that more than 60 percent of their total life stress was due to medical school. The most important psychosocial stressors were: too much work and difficulty in coping. The clinical students were particularly concerned about being good medical students and doctors. The reasons for choosing Medicine as a career and social health (health, study and sleep habits) were also studied.
Conclusion The health risks of a medical student are primarily psychosocial in nature. The biggest challenges are work demands, maintaining a work-life balance and managing the psychosocial work environment.
Keywords: medical students, musculoskeletal complaints, needlestick injury, physical work environment, psychosocial health, stress
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(2): 166–171