The Clinical Psychiatry Clerkship builds on your second and third year course in Psychology, your second year course in Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology and your third year course in Neuropharmacology and Neuropathology. Students should be engaged as far as possible in self directed, independent learning which is Problem Based and in accordance with overall objectives of the Faculty. The clerkship emphasizes clinical teaching, centring about specific cases which illustrated the variety of psychiatric disorders and their response to treatment interventions. This core clinical experience will be critical to your medical education as your basic exposure to approaching disorders of mental life. Since a substantial portion of patients seen in non-psychiatric treatment settings will have psychiatric problems, the Clerkship is a basic pillar of your clinical training. In addition, virtually every medical disorder has significant potential for psychiatric complications.
The purpose of all branches of medicine is to allow people to live their lives as freely as possible from burdens of physical and mental incapacity. Psychiatry does not offer patients a formula for living life and should never pretend to know general answers to the eternal dilemmas and travails of human existence. Psychiatry can attempt to remove some of the barriers to human freedom imposed by emergence of identifiable psychiatric syndromes, by central nervous system disease, by vulnerabilities in personality, by acquired abnormalities in thinking or behaviour, and by reactions to stresses including medical illnesses.
In the Clerkship we will emphasise a scientific, methodologic and rational basis for psychiatric clinical thinking and practice, drawing on empirical studies and striving to avoid bias deriving from theory-bound approaches to psychological life. We will work simultaneously to approach our patients compassionately, intending to dilute the loneliness, mental anguish and daily struggles of individuals with symptoms of any illness, particularly of individuals suffering in the personal, internal world of their mental life. We will strive to remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
Aim of the course
The main aim of the course is to produce a medical practitioner who is capable to deal with common emotional and psychiatric problems of patients at the primary care level.
The overall focus of the clerkship is to achieve in five domains :
1. Attitudinal change
When students come to the psychiatry block for the first time, they are not sure of what psychiatry is. They come with the well established negative attitude to psychiatry. Our first focus is to change the student’s attitude towards psychiatry and remove the stigma associated with the mental illness.
2. Function as a Physician
Demonstrated degree of responsibility, initiative, thoroughness, rapport with patients, and ability to work as part of a team, applicable to all specialities.
3. Knowledge of human behavioural sciences and psychiatry
Mastery of the basis facts of HBS and psychiatry disorders aetiology, pathogenesis, psychopathology, diagnostic points and major treatments.
Demonstrated ability to obtain a psychiatric history, execute and communicate the mental status examination, formulate a case, give a differential diagnosis and management plan.
5. Ability to reason psychiatrically
Capacity to approach mental life from a variety of perspectives of analysis, aware of sources of theory-bound, bias, recognizing and prioritizing the issues in patients’ lives for which psychiatric intervention is appropriate and potentially beneficial.
The course is balanced between learning clinical psychiatry on inpatient and outpatient services, and applying psychiatry in the context of general hospital medicine as well as in the Emergency Room setting. At completion of the course, students should be able to identify common primary psychiatric aspects of general medical/surgical illness and initiate appropriate intervention.
Outline of the curriculum
There is no clinical block. Psychiatry will be taught in the form of lectures.
The student will have during the year a six weeks clinical block. During this time they will be introduced to clinical psychiatry; will be involved in ward clerking, case presentations and discussions in the form of tutorials and seminars. Emphasis will be placed on history taking, the ability to grasp and present the clinical problem, common psychiatric problems and general functioning in the ward. The students should be present at ward rounds. They should be involved in ward programme, should have seen patients other than those allocated for case reports, for instance, they should clerk patients at the Family Medicine, OPD, Surgical, Medical, Paediatric and O and G departments.
They should discuss with the Consultants and show genuine concern for patients and their welfare.
Emphasis will be placed on general hospital psychiatry; the ability to grasp and present the clinical problem; correlate and synthesise clinical information; psychodynamic formulation and prioritizing the differential diagnosis according to DSM – IV Multiaxial Classification. They will be expected to manage the patient along the Bio-Psycho-Social lines.
Year mark, Examinations, DP requirements
Objectives for Students
Medical students at the end of their 5th year should be able to: