Psychiatry Clerkship Tips

My thoughts

I didn't wear white coat and never used my stethoscope. The history and physicals are different, and It is hard to follow a rigid routine when you are asking very personal and sensitive questions. One thing I noticed is that psychiatry deals with a lot of socioeconomic aspect of medicine and works in highly integrative professional setting where case workers, social workers, nurse practitioners, and psychologists are involved. It is definitely something to consider if you are interested in social aspect of medicine. In general, it could get pretty depressing in psychiatry. People with mental illness have issues in all aspects of their lives, and tragic social and medical history is the norm. I personally don't think I have what it takes to handle that aspect of the field. 

My Site

  • Outpatient clinic: This was my main site. I spent 4 days a week with a nurse practitioner, resident, therapist and an attending. 
  • VA inpatient unit: This was my observational site. I spent a day a week here as an alternative experience.
  • Child psychiatry diagnostic clinic: I only spent a day here. 
  • Consult Liaison: I was on call 3 times during my 5 week rotation. 

Study Resources

First Aid Psychiatry: It is well written and easy to read without excessive information. It will give you the 85% of the information you need to know. The rest of the content is just random and I don't think any one book has them. 

Case Files Psychiatry: The cases are classic text book. Unfortunately nobody will give you everything on a silver platter like that. The explanations and short practice questions after each case are helpful. It is a great resource for someone who does not like to read textbooks. 

Kaplan and Uworld Q Bank: Kaplan questions are on the old side. I am not sure if it actually represents DSMV. So be careful with some of the questions. Otherwise, I thought it was a pretty descent option. Uworld was so basic. It will give you the bare minimum. Both Q banks are definitely not enough and the contents are pretty similar. Both Q banks doesn't cover the details, which is what the shelf is mainly consists of. So definitely read through First Aid well.  

Lange Psychiatry Q Book: I thought this was the most useful Q book. I did not do all of them, but I really wish I just did this one twice instead of Uworld and Kaplan. It really tests you on the details that you would not pay attention on your own. 

Be sure to study

  • Mood disorder diagnoses: differences between normal vs. personality disorder vs. major psychiatric diagnosis
  • Tourettes syndrome
  • Normal child development
  • Genetic causes of intellectual disability in children
  • Psychopharmacology /+ during pregnancy and in elders