One covariance analysis of dyslexic medical students found that dyslexia is not a significant impediment to getting favourable exam results, according to Jean Mckendree and Margaret J. Snowling. This is very good news considering that over 65% of children exhibit dyslexic traits, which can impede their learning. So while dyslexia is not a major impediment to starting a medical career, there are other factors to consider. Specifically, the high-stress and anxiety-inducing environment that comes with a career in medicine.
Stress: The Environmental Reaction
The life of a medical professional is one that is mired in stress. Taking responsibility for others, long hours, and making on-the-spot decisions all contribute toward a very stressful environment, according to the School of Medical Education. These, and many other factors, can all contribute toward emotional strain, burnout and job dissatisfaction. Naturally, there is good stress and bad stress, and each has its own particular effect. For example, good or tolerable stress involves reading or writing — tasks that are regularly challenging for those with dyslexia. Bad or toxic stress, however, takes the form of instances where a person may feel they are out of control. Toxic stress has a direct adverse effect on people with dyslexia, as they may find common tasks harder as they are in a constant state of fight or flight.
Anxiety: The Psychological Strain
Anxiety differs from stress in the sense that instead of being a reaction to present situations, it is a reaction to potential situations that a person may find themselves in, according to the International Dyslexia Association. It seems that millennials in medical careers and people with dyslexia in high-stress careers experience anxiety fairly regularly over concerns about being judged or making a mistake. A more troubling factor is that it isn’t quite certain what may trigger an anxiety attack. This is particularly true for dyslexics, as they have often experienced being fragile and vulnerable at several points in their lives. Mental vulnerability is not a good thing to have when other people’s well-being is at stake.
What Can Be Done?
Given that a medical career is one that is full of stress and anxiety, it is critical to have established mental exercises to help mitigate any overwhelming negative effects. A good way to start is by clearly defining the source of stress and anxiety. Professionals need to be able to determine what specifically causes them stress and anxiety. From there, it is wise to educate themselves on how they may gracefully and effectively combat stress and anxiety. Once those two things are done, it’ll be a lot easier to anticipate an incoming stressor or a potential trigger for an anxiety attack.
It can also help in reducing the likelihood of an event causing stress or anxiety over time. A person with dyslexia can also stay mentally fit by taking part in regular and vigorous physical activities that promote mindfulness and wellness, such as yoga. Of course, proper nutrition and hydration are also necessary in order for individuals to have the energy to combat stress and anxiety. Building one’s competence in staving off stress and anxiety helps to build proper confidence and eventual success. Confidence is necessary for medical professionals so that they may help calm and advise their patients.
People with dyslexia can rest assured that it is entirely possible to pursue a career in medicine. There is a great importance to fully considering the whole picture before deciding if a high-stress and anxiety-inducing career is their cup of tea. Beyond this, it also significantly helps to know what can be done to combat stress and anxiety. Being prepared is a key feature in ensuring that those with dyslexia can cope effectively, and ultimately thrive in their chosen medical careers.