Psychiatric Curriculum and its Impact on the Attitude of Indian Undergraduate Medical Students and Interns

Department of Psychiatry, Indira Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute (IGMC & RI), Kathirkamam, Pondicherry, India.
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 07/2010; 32(2):119-27. DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.78509
Source: PubMed


Psychiatry is given very less importance in the Indian undergraduate medical curriculum and this affects the attitudes of students toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.
To study the attitude of undergraduate medical students and interns toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.
Undergraduate medical students and interns of a private medical college and research institute in South India consented to form our sample. We studied the General Health Questionnaire, overall level of satisfaction in ongoing Medical course using Visual Analog Scale, attitudes toward psychiatry scale and the attitudes toward mentally ill patient's scale of the students, with their informed consent. SPSS version 18 was used for analysis of data.
Participation rate was 96%. Mean age of entire sample was 20.56 years. The total mean score on the General Health Questionnaire was 13.52 in first year but became worse toward internship (18.2). The level of satisfaction in the medical course dipped from 86% at baseline to 20% during internship. Equally high scores were noted in the attitude toward mentally ill scale. On the attitude toward psychiatry scale, there were more views on psychiatry as being an unscientific specialty, psychiatrists being considered poor role models, and psychiatric teaching was of low quality and psychiatry was the least preferred career choice.
The undergraduate medical students have a very unfavorable attitude toward psychiatry and mentally ill patients.

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Available from: Anand Lingeswaran, Jun 09, 2015
    • "There is no doubt that medical students’ educational experience of psychiatry plays a great role in determining whether they choose a career in psychiatry.[13] It is worrying that students entering medical college with an interest in pursuing a career in psychiatry change their minds during their time in medical college.[14] "
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    ABSTRACT: Psychiatry is not considered important by most medical students. But knowledge of psychiatry is essential for all doctors as psychiatric problems are prevalent in the population either as part of other physical illnesses or independently. All medical practitioners need skills in communication and forming empathy and the ability to counsel that are learnt in psychiatry. Nearly all medical students feel psychiatry is not scientific enough and psychiatrists are peculiar. We need to make psychiatry interesting, and impart skills and techniques to practice psychiatry at the primary care level and in the process change the misconceptions students have of psychiatry. We present a model to accomplish this.
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  • No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE The discipline of psychiatry, and psychiatry as a career option, have been negatively regarded by medical students for decades. There is a large amount of literature on attitudes of students and the factors that attract them to and detract from psychiatry. The aim of this article is to systematically review this literature from 1990 to the present time. METHOD The author undertook a systematic review searching a number of electronic databases using the following key words: medical students, attitudes, psychiatry, career. Studies were included in the review if they had been published in an English-language, peer-reviewed journal. Data extracted included year of publication, country where the study was conducted, study design and aim, sample size and response rate, year of study that students were in when they participated in the research, and main results. RESULTS A total of 32 papers from 22 different countries were selected for inclusion; 12,144 students from 74 medical schools were surveyed. A mix of positive and negative attitudes toward psychiatry were identified, and, overall, attitudes were found to be positive. However, psychiatry as a career choice was rated poorly and found to be unpopular for many students. CONCLUSION The studies undertaken to-date have identified and raised awareness of a wide range of negative and positive factors toward psychiatry. In order to encourage more students to consider psychiatry as a career, attention needs to focus more closely on the psychiatry curriculum and the development of innovative teaching strategies. This may overcome the negativity that students express toward psychiatry, improve recruitment rates to training programs, and put psychiatry on a more positive foundation for the future.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Academic Psychiatry
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