The goal of the clerkship is to teach psychiatry to the non-psychiatrist.

By the end of the clerkship, students will be able to:

  1. Perform and document a complete psychiatric diagnostic evaluation including a complete history, mental-status examination and appropriate physical exam.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to evaluate each patient for potential relationships between medical and psychiatric symptoms and illnesses; potential history of abuse or neglect; and psychiatric emergencies, including dangerousness to self or others.
  3. Conduct a psychiatric interview in an empathic manner that facilitates information-gathering and formation of a therapeutic alliance with patients of diverse backgrounds.
  4. Identify psychopathology; formulate accurate differential and working diagnoses using DSM; assess patients’ strengths and prognosis; and develop appropriate biopsychosocial evaluation (laboratory, radiologic and psychological testing) and treatment plans for psychiatric patients.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of the epidemiology; clinical features; course and prognosis; diagnostic criteria; differential diagnosis; and treatment strategies for the major classes of psychiatric disorders.
  6. Know the clinical features of, treatment for, intoxication with and withdrawal from alcohol and drugs.
  7. Summarize the indications and contra-indications; basic mechanisms of action; pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; efficacy and cost; common and serious side effects; toxicity; drug interactions; and issues relevant to special populations of each class of psychotropic medications and demonstrate the ability to select and use these agents to treat mental disorders.
  8. Discuss the appropriate use and indications, benefits and side effects of Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT); light therapy; and emerging new treatments such as vagal nerve stimulation and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.
  9. Understand the principles, techniques and indications for effective psychotherapies and behavioral medicine interventions sufficient to explain to a patient and make a referral when indicated.
  10. Demonstrate the ability to monitor and document patients’ clinical progress and alter diagnostic formulation and management in response to changes.
  11. Discuss the indications for psychiatric hospitalization, including the presenting problem and its acuity, risk of danger to patient or others, community resources and family support.
  12. Discuss the structure of the mental health system, understand relevant legal issues and adhere to ethical principles in the care of psychiatric patients, including:
  • Respect for patient autonomy and confidentiality
  • The implications and principles of civil commitment 
  • The process of obtaining a voluntary or involuntary commitment
  1. Identify the indications, precautions and appropriate use of restraints and one-to-one sitters.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, using relevant databases of psychiatric evidence-based medicine to improve patient care.
  3. Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families and other health professionals.

Most Important: Try to become more comfortable interacting with a wide variety of patients with mental illnesses.