Trucking along through my third year of medical school, my next clerkship rotation was Psychiatry.
During this clerkship, we were allowed to request being at our local state hospital, the university hospital, VA consult team, or another local VA hospital that had a larger and more intensive psychiatric program. I requested to complete this rotation at the later VA location. Here, our rotation schedule was divided between 3 weeks of outpatient clinic and 3 weeks on the inpatient service.
Other: weekly lecture/case based study with quiz; NBME at the end of the clerkship
Every day, we started at 7:45am with a morning lecture on different psychiatry topics. After this lecture, we went off either to outpatient clinics or to the inpatient service. On outpatient, the attending or resident we worked with varied from day to day and this influenced when we finished in the afternoons. Typically, we were done by 3:00-4:00pm. On inpatient, rounds were usually finished before lunch and then we worked on notes and usually were done for the day by 2:00-3:00pm. Some days, depending on what we were doing and the number of patients that were seen, we were able to finish earlier than this. This location was much more laid back, being separated from the larger systems we had a choice of rotating through, so we generally had more time off than students had at other locations.
Due to the delicate nature of the mental health issues that we often saw, there was a lot of shadowing during this rotation. This occurred more on outpatient. Sometimes, we were allowed to see patients by ourselves, but usually we just observed the resident or attending doing the interview. On inpatient, we rounded with the entire team all at once (attending, resident, students, social worker, APRN). While seeing each patient, it was our responsibility to conduct the interview, with other members of the team chiming in as needed. After rounds, we completed the notes on the patients we each personally interviewed.
First Aid for the Psychiatry Clerkship: This was a good summary review of the psychiatric conditions we needed to know, along with their diagnostic criteria and treatment options.
UWorld questions: UWorld questions are always great to help grasp the types and format of questions that will be asked on board exams.
My Psychiatry experience was very relaxed and stress free. The residents and attendings really enjoyed teaching and often took time during the day to go over frequently tested topics. While there wasn’t a whole lot we could do on our own, we did learn a lot from both these lectures and from observing the interactions between the resident or attending and the patients.
Have you done a Psychiatry clerkship? What was your experience like? Do you have any other questions about what my time on Psych was like? Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
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