Stress is an inevitable part of college for any student, but school can be particularly stressful for medical, nursing, and other healthcare students. They not only have to take in loads of information in classes but must also deal with the demands of residencies or clinicals (not to mention the highly competitive nature of med school and healthcare careers).

Stress can become a  much more serious issue if left unchecked, so it’s important not to ignore it. This guide provides effective solutions to help medical and healthcare students manage their stress levels and take care of their overall mental health. After reading it, you’ll better understand symptoms of stress and related mental health concerns, learn simple self-treatment strategies, know when it’s time to seek outside help, and have all the resources you need to be healthy-minded and successful in college.

What Do We Mean When We Say “Stress”?

People often use “stress” to refer to a wide range of factors and feelings, so it’s important to know exactly what we mean when talking about stress so you can better identify and differentiate between stress and other issues commonly associated with it, like burnout, anxiety, and depression.


Stress happens when a person is presented with a challenge but does not have the resources available to effectively deal with that challenge. Sometimes stress can be positive and lead to growth, but if the stress is inhibitive rather than motivating, the failure to respond well to challenges can have significant negative consequences, both physically and emotionally.


  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Withdrawing from friends and social activities
  • Stomach pain or upset
  • Fatigue
  • Substance misuse
  • Anger outbursts
  • Change in eating habits


Stress likely can’t be avoided altogether, but it can be managed. Managing your time well to account for studying, hobbies, and other commitments can help you balance your schedule and prepare for stressful events in the future. Exercising, meditating, hanging out with friends and family, meeting with student support groups, and talking with a counselor can also help alleviate stress.

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Stress Management Guide for Healthcare and Medical Students: