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Clerkship Learning Objectives


  • Learn the personal and professional characteristics that are required of physicians.
  • Understand the core principles and clinical skills needed to treat patients with psychiatric illness.
  • Pass the Shelf Test and OSCE.
  • Have fun.


Medical Knowledge (MK)

  • Describe the known pathophysiology, epidemiology, risk factors, and the course of commonly encountered psychiatric illnesses (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders). (MK3, MK4, MK6)
  • Demonstrate the ability to formulate an accurate diagnostic assessment and treatment plan for patients with the following psychiatric illnesses: depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, personality disorders. (MK6)
  • Describe the core features, diagnostic approach to, and acute management of a patient with delirium. (MK4, MK5, MK6)
  • Describe the proposed mechanism of action, indications, and clinically important side effects of the following classes of medications: all antidepressant classes and those with novel mechanisms of action, neuroleptics, mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines. (MK5, MK8)
  • Describe the role of psychotherapy for patients with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, psychotic disorders and personality disorders in an inpatient and outpatient setting. (MK5, MK6, MK8)
  • Describe the role of electroconvulsive therapy in the treatment of patients with psychiatric illness. (MK5, MK6)
  • Explain how social determinants, health behaviors, and preventive measures can affect psychiatric illnesses in individuals and across larger populations. (MK7)

Patient Care (PC)

  • Demonstrate proper techniques for interviewing a patient to obtain an accurate psychiatric history and complete a mental status examination. (PC1)
  • Formulate a comprehensive and organized differential diagnosis for patients presenting with psychiatric complaints. (PC2)
  • Develop a plan for a diagnostic evaluation of a patient presenting with psychiatric complaints, to include laboratory and other testing. (PC3, MK5)
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate laboratory and diagnostic findings when developing a differential diagnosis and treatment plan for a patient with psychiatric illness. (PC2, PC3)
  • Develop a treatment plan for commonly occurring psychiatric illnesses that is patient centered and evidence based. (PC3, MK6, MK8)
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively interview and assess a patient with suicidal thoughts. (PC1, CS2)
  • Demonstrate the ability to build a positive, healing relationship with a patient and their family. (PC4, PC6,CS2)
  • Describe the impact of psychosocial factors on patients’ illnesses, overall health, and coping strategies. (PC4, MK7)
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively as a member of an interprofessional Health care team. (PC8,CS3)

Interpersonal & Communication Skills (CS)

  • Demonstrate effective, professional, compassionate, ethical and culturally sensitive interpersonal and communication skills in interactions with patients, families, peers, and other professionals and staff. (CS1)
  • Recognize when there is a barrier to the effectiveness of a patient interview or overall rapport with a patient. (CS2)
  • Effectively present and document in a standardized format the patient data gathered from patient interviews, examinations, laboratory & diagnostic studies, and progress notes. (CS1)
  • Demonstrate effective collaboration skills as a member of a team, including learning teams and health care teams. (CS3)

Professionalism (PR)

  • Demonstrate honesty, integrity, respect, and compassion in all interactions with patients, peers, faculty, staff, and other health care professionals in all settings. (PR1)
  • Demonstrate ethical, patient-centered decision making and respect for the confidentiality of patient information in all settings (i.e., clinical, academic, electronic, or web-based). (PR2)
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to the personhood of the patient inclusive of culture, ethnicity, spirituality, gender, age, disabilities, and other aspects of personal and health beliefs, practices, and decisions. (PR3)
  • Demonstrate accountability for academic, patient care and professional responsibilities, demeanor and dress, and a commitment to continuous professional development. (PR4)
  • Acknowledge personal limitations and mistakes openly and honestly and critically evaluate mistakes to promote professional development. (PR5)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to personal health and well-being and recognize and address personal attributes, attitudes, and behaviors that may adversely influence one’s effectiveness as a physician. (PR6)
  • Define professional impairment and describe the role and responsibility of health care professionals in addressing impairment and unprofessional behavior in colleagues and in the profession. (PR7)

Practice Based & Lifelong Learning (PL)

  • Demonstrate the ability to access, interpret, and integrate evidence-based information into patient care decisions and treatment planning for patients with psychiatric illness. (PL3)
  • Engage in discussions involving feedback in a constructive and positive manner. (PL2)
  • Use information technology successfully to access and manage patient information. (PL3)
  • Acknowledge limitations in skills and gaps in knowledge base and develop a plan to continue to address these via self-study or in subsequent clinical rotations. (PL1)

Systems Based Learning (SL)

  • Demonstrate an appreciation of, and ability to collaborate with, other members of the health care team including nurses, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists, and other team members and trainees. (SL3)
  • Identify issues related to the cost-effectiveness of diagnostic evaluations and patient care.(SL1)
  • Describe potential barriers to treatment and means of advocating for patients with psychiatric illness. (SL2, SL5)
  • Describe the role of a psychiatrist in the care of a patient with psychiatric illness in an inpatient and outpatient setting. (SL3)