Psychiatry Clerkship

The Psychiatry Clerkship is a required six week clinical course that provides third year students with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and appropriate referral of patients with mental health disorders. The student will be assigned to one or more preceptors. A variety of learning opportunities are offered in community-based programs at the six Regional Campuses and include inpatient and outpatient psychiatry treatment programs, emergency departments, consultations/liaison services, residential treatment programs, correctional facilities and others. The goal of the required 6 week Psychiatry rotation is to provide the student with an experience that emphasizes evaluation and treatment in the outpatient setting, and at least three weeks of their clinical time will be devoted to ambulatory care. Diverse opportunities at the different campuses provide an extensive array of complementary and enriching experiences as well. For example, students may be exposed to the treatment of coexisting psychiatric and medical illnesses through consultations done in a general hospital. They may likewise gain skills necessary to intervene and treat the most acutely ill patients in urgent care settings, such as the emergency room. ECT may be an additional experience offered on some campuses.

All major psychiatric diagnostic categories will be addressed including: affective disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, geriatrics disorders, children and adolescent disorders, somatization disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, autism, pervasive developmental disorder, and personality disorders. (Though the focus is primarily on adults, there will be exposure to the care of adolescents and children when possible.) When appropriate, basic science correlations are also addressed.

In the outpatient setting, students will be provided opportunities to both observe and to participate directly in patient care under the supervision of the clerkship faculty psychiatrist. Students at times may follow patients in the hospital setting to gain an appreciation for the range of severity of psychiatric illnesses and the variety of treatment options that are available to those with severe illness. Learning the skills needed for interventions and treatments done in the most acutely ill patients will be achieved from time spent in emergency rooms and other urgent care areas. Delivery of care to all populations is taught. (e.g. Children, Adolescents, Adults, Elderly, Cultural Diversity as well as special needs populations like the developmentally disabled.) There is also exposure to the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse and alcoholics. The students must demonstrate an understanding of how patients with diverse cultures, religions, and belief systems perceive symptoms, diseases, and health care in general. Due to our distributed model, our students will see demographic influences on health care. Students must have self-awareness of any personal biases they may have regarding the delivery of health care in regards to gender, culture, race or any other bias.

View the Course Syllabus