University of St Andrews


School of Medicine handbook for staff & students
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Some individuals thrive in a high pressure environment, which is great. Others find managing the stresses created by the work load in medicine and the highly competitive environment more challenging. Medicine needs a broad spectrum of individuals.
Anxiety is normal. Feelings of anxiety keep us safe; deter us from takings risks and acting on impulse. Low levels of anxiety can actually improve performance. Anxiety becomes a problem when it impacts on an individual’s work, or even their daily enjoyment of life.
Students who are away from their usual support structures such as friends and family sometimes struggle to manage anxiety. What follows are some common sense suggestions to help you cope.
Symptoms of anxiety:

  • Physical. Shortness of breath, heart racing, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, muscular aches & pains.
  • Psychological. Unrealistic or excessive fear or worry, decreased memory & concentration, difficulty making decisions, tiredness or sleep disturbance.

Pro-active approach

Students are encouraged to take an early pro-active approach in the management of any problem including anxiety. Sensible advice can be found on the University website:
The following two web links will allow you to access on-line advice and self-help therapy.
Finding the balance between self –reliance and seeking help appropriately is a skill. Taking a pro-active approach and addressing problems early makes them much easier to resolve. Whilst the Pro deans (student support) are available to see students with anxiety related problems (appointments can be made by emailing [email protected]), it is both encouraged and expected that you should make full use of the resources listed above.
Student Services also offer support and counselling and can be contacted on Ext 2020 or emailing [email protected]