Psychiatry Clerkship

General Information

Clerkship Goals & Objectives

The overall goal of the clerkship is to provide a thorough introduction to Psychiatry through supervised patient encounters, clinical teaching and a structured didactic program.

The students will meet the following core objectives and desired goals:

Student Core Objectives

1. Learn the psychiatric exam.

Curriculum: The psychiatric exam will be taught by residents, physician assistants, attendings and preceptors in the hospital and clinic settings. During the chief resident teaching time a systematic review of the psychiatric exam will occur or it can be observed on the website.

Benchmark: The three main categories evaluated include: interview initiation, history taking and listening skills. To learn the exam you will practice them during rounds and while in the outpatient setting.

Test: Perform an interview observed by your preceptor and receive a passing score. You must repeat the CEX until a pass score is achieved. The CEX form must be returned to Gayle Schneider** in order to pass the clerkship.

2. Learn to identify the major psychiatric illnesses and how to differentiate between them.

Curriculum: The major diagnostic categories of psychiatric illnesses taught in this clerkship are child psychiatry, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, cognitive disorders and personality disorders.

Benchmark: Key features of each will be taught during the didactics and can be found on the website.

Test: To pass the clerkship two full psychiatric write ups that include a differential diagnosis are completed and reviewed by the preceptor or attending. The final exam for the clerkship also requires the ability to make diagnoses based on clinical cases.

3. Learn to identify the major indications for and side effects of one or more medications from each of the following classes of medications: atypical antipsychotics; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; novel antidepressants; tricyclic antidepressants; mood stabilizers; benzodiazepines and anti-EPS agents.

Curriculum: The major psychiatric pharmacologic categories, examples within each group, prominent side effects and indications for use are taught during the clerkship through the web-based cases, during rounds and in formal didactics.

Benchmark: Key features of each will be taught during the didactics and can be found on the website.

Test: The final exam for the clerkship requires the ability to identify major indications for and side effects of psychiatric medications.

4. Have exposure to the major psychiatric illnesses.

Curriculum: It is expected that the student will have broad exposure to patients with psychiatric illness. What constitutes a patient exposure are: directly observing an interview of a patient; interviewing a patient; completing an on line case involving a patient case.

Benchmark: See at least one patient in each of the following illness categories: psychotic disorder, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, substance-related disorder, cognitive disorder, and personality disorder.

Test: You will log your patient contact on the Psychiatry Clerkship Experience Log [39k MSWord]. At the end of the first three weeks if you have not seen a patient in each of the categories listed above, please complete the appropriate on-line case and read the appropriate chapter in the clerkship text. After completing the case(s), log this as a patient contact on the Psychiatry Clerkship Experience Log. This form must also be returned to Gayle Schneider**.

5. Have exposure to a bioethical issue in psychiatry.

Curriculum: Bioethical issues arise frequently in psychiatry. You are required to identify, observe and reflect on at least one bioethical clinical scenario during the clerkship.

Benchmark: Have exposure to at least one patient in which a bioethical issue is raised either in the clinical setting or through a web-based case.

Test: On the Psychiatry Clerkship Experience form write a reflection on the clinical bioethics case you observed or on a bioethics case completed on the website. This information will be returned to Gayle Schneider.

6. Receive mid-rotation feedback.

Curriculum: Feedback given after the first three weeks of the clerkship should allow you to improve your performance in the second three weeks. Keep in mind that the feedback should contain both constructive criticism and positive reflections.

Benchmark: All students should receive mid-rotation feedback. The student is responsible for requesting and documenting the feedback from their attending or preceptor.

Test: The student will document the feedback they received on the Psychiatry Clerkship Experience form. At the end of the clerkship this form must also be returned to Gayle Schneider**.

Desired Goals            

  • Demonstrate the ability to ask in a sensitive manner about the following: suicide and suicidal ideation; homicidal ideation; abuse; drug and alcohol habits.
  • List the etiologic factors of the major psychiatric illnesses including biologic, sociocultural, intrapsychic and interpersonal.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary mental treatment team.
  • Identify nonpharmacologic treatments including psychotherapies, psychoeducation, social and community interventions.
  • Increase level of comfort in working with patients with psychiatric illness.

** For all documents that must be submitted to Gayle Schneider, you can e-mail to as electronic attachments, fax to 206-744-3236, send by Campus Mail to Box 359911, or by USPS to Gayle Schneider, Box 359911, 325 9th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-2499.

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