The concept of threat versus challenge is not new, being discussed in American University settings in the early 1970’s and currently linking to the appraisal of stressors in numerous theories of stress. Research from the fields of medicine and vocational paramedics demonstrate that challenge state appraisal leads to improved motor skill performance and improved self-confidence. However, limited published research involving healthcare students makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusion as to the viability of this concept relevant to improving student confidence and clinical ability. This leads to a novel question - can we quantify how much stress novice clinicians are under as they approach the beginning of their careers, and can we provide education packages to better equip them to appraise high acuity patient scenarios as a challenge instead of a threat?
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