Repositioning psychiatry in medical school curricula: a study of medical students’ attitudes

Quinn, C., Hegde, R. and Langan-Martin, J. (2020) Repositioning psychiatry in medical school curricula: a study of medical students’ attitudes. MedEdPublish, 9(1), 183. (doi: 10.15694/mep.2020.000183.1)

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Amidst the ongoing global recruitment crisis in psychiatry there are compelling reasons to rethink the approach to, and the content and structure of, educational and experiential opportunities for medical students and foundation doctors. Medical students’ attitudes to mental illness and psychiatry have been a topic of interest for many decades. The literature identifies the undergraduate years as pivotal in the formation of attitudes towards psychiatry and it has been suggested that medical students’ attitudes towards psychiatry worsen as they progress through undergraduate education. The aim of this study was to explore University of Glasgow medical students’ attitudes towards psychiatry and possible reasons for not choosing psychiatry as a viable career option. An electronic survey was emailed to all medical students in October 2017. A response rate of 24.5% (N=324) was achieved which was representative across year groups one to five. The findings identified generally positive attitudes towards psychiatry as a specialty. However, year group analysis demonstrated a declining level of interest in pursuing psychiatry as a career choice. Negative attitudes towards psychiatry clustered in common themes, namely: stigmatised views about psychiatry and people with mental illness; perceived limited exposure to psychiatry in the curriculum and for experiential learning opportunities. This paper proposes that enhanced coverage of, and exposure to, psychiatry in undergraduate and postgraduate training may provide avenues into reducing negative attitudes towards psychiatry within medicine. This in turn may support national campaigns to 'rebrand' psychiatry and reinvigorate the psychiatry core trainee (CT) supply chain.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Langan-Martin, Dr Julie and Quinn, Dr Carol and Hegde, Dr Rekha
Authors: Quinn, C., Hegde, R., and Langan-Martin, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:MedEdPublish
Publisher:Association for Medical Education in Europe
ISSN (Online):2312–7996
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in MedEdPublish 9(1):183
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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