Australian Junior Doctors’ Perspectives on Psychiatry Teaching in Medical School

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Objective: This research aimed to investigate the perspectives of junior doctors regarding the psychiatry teaching they received in medical school and to ascertain which areas of psychiatry are relevant to practicing junior doctors. Methods: In 2017 an online survey was sent to junior doctors affiliated with an Australian public health service. Respondents were asked to rate the degree of preparation their medical school education had provided, in regard to the application of psychiatry knowledge/skills in their practice. Respondents were also asked to specify which psychiatry knowledge/skills were relevant to their practice and how psychiatry teaching in medical school could be improved. Authors generated descriptive statistics for the quantitative data and reviewed the open-ended question data to form themes, guided by the general inductive approach. Results: The responses of 82 junior doctors were included in the analysis. Over half of the respondents believed that their psychiatry teaching in medical school had prepared them well for their current clinical practice. Responses to open-ended questions noted the following areas of psychiatry as most relevant to practice: delirium, mood disorders, risk assessment, and de-escalation. Respondents emphasized the importance of teaching psychiatry knowledge/skills relevant to the management of patients seen outside of psychiatric units. Conclusions: Psychiatry teaching in medical school appears to be providing adequate preparation for most junior doctors. However, there is still significant room for improvement. Changes to the curriculum should be considered, with a greater emphasis on clinically relevant psychiatry knowledge/skills, increased active learning sessions, and a broader range of clinical placements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562–565
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Psychiatry
  • Medical education
  • Junior doctors
  • Curriculum

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