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10.108010401334.2023.2209073.pdf (1.21 MB)

A Qualitative Exploration of Health Profession Students’ Experiences of Resilience and Burnout Using the Coping Reservoir Model during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Version 2 2024-02-11, 06:47
Version 1 2024-02-07, 07:39
journal contribution
revised on 2024-02-11, 06:46 and posted on 2024-02-11, 06:47 authored by Alla El-Awaisi, Sara Ismail, Ruba Sulaiman, Tanya Kane, Maguy Saffouh El Hajj, Mujahed Shraim


The Coping Reservoir Model is a useful theoretical and analytical framework through which to examine student resilience and burnout. This model conceptualizes wellbeing as a reservoir which is filled or drained through students’ adaptive and maladaptive coping mechanisms. This dynamic process has the capacity to foster resilience and reduce burnout or the inverse. This study aimed to explore health profession students’ coping mechanisms and their experiences of resilience and burnout during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.


Employing the Coping Reservoir Model, qualitative focus groups involving health profession students enrolled at Qatar University were conducted, in October 2020, to solicit their lived experiences of stress and burnout during the pandemic. The Coping Reservoir Model was used to structure the topic guide for the focus group discussion and the Framework Analysis Approach was used in the data analysis.


A total of 43 participants comprised eight focus groups. Health profession students encountered myriad personal, social, and academic challenges during the pandemic which adversely impacted their wellbeing and their capacity for coping. In particular, students reported high levels of stress, internal conflict, and heavy demands on their time and energy. The shift to online learning and uncertainty associated with adapting to online learning and new modes of assessment were exacerbating factors. Students sought to replenish their coping reservoir through engagement in a range of intellectual, social, and health-promoting activities and seeking psychosocial support in their efforts to mitigate these stressors.


Students in this region have traditionally been left to their own devices to deal with stress and burnout during their academic training, wherein the institutions focus exclusively on the delivery of information. This study underscores student needs and potential avenues that health profession educators might implement to better support their students, for instance the development and inclusion of longitudinal wellbeing and mentorship curricula geared to build resilience and reduce burnout. The invaluable contributions of health professionals during the pandemic warrant emphasis, as does an examination of the stress associated with these roles to normalize and justify inclusion of wellbeing and resilience modules within the curriculum. Actively engaging health profession students in university-led volunteer activities during public health crises and campaigns would provide opportunities to replenish their coping reservoirs through social engagement, intellectual stimulation, and consolidating their future professional identities.

Other Information

Published in: Teaching and Learning in Medicine
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • Qatar University Health - QU
  • College of Pharmacy - QU HEALTH
  • College of Medicine - QU HEALTH
  • College of Health Sciences - QU HEALTH

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