BACKGROUND: In response to the growing prevalence of physical and emotional burnout amongst medical students and practicing physicians, we sought to find a new methodology to scope a five-year undergraduate curriculum in detail to assess for teaching, learning objectives and experiences that seek to promote resilience in medical students. This was undertaken to test whether this methodology would enable curriculum discussions to enhance training for future cohorts through the introduction of a curriculum dedicated to the development of resilience and resourcefulness.
METHODS: Based on literature review, a rating-scale was devised to generate quantitative data in four key areas of resilience; internal resources, lifestyle factors, external resources (self-mediated) and external resources (agent mediated). This scale was used to evaluate the entire five-year undergraduate curriculum of a medical school in the north of England through systematic evaluation of learning outcomes and planned activities. The methodology used was a four-stage process including i) identifying the learning objectives, ii) mapping them onto the criteria outlined, iii) assessing them against clear objective standards (planned, explicit, universal and quantifiable), and iv) rating data collected.
RESULTS: The evaluation provided a clear, quantitative overview of the curriculum in terms of resilience building. Strengths and gaps were identified and work was undertaken leading to suggestions for change. This facilitated helpful discussions with course leaders and planners, received universally positive feedback and led to new learning objectives, activities and experiences that have been identified and begun to be implemented.
CONCLUSIONS: "The HYMS CARE Criteria" and our methodology for assessing it in a medical school curriculum context, offers a valuable perspective to aid the planning of improvements in curricula. This model for scoping and structuring resilience related learning experiences is offered for consideration by other schools.