‘Potential to make a significant impact on comprehensive, collaborative patient care’
“I was sure I would pursue obstetrics and gynecology, until I discovered C-L Psychiatry.” Variations of this statement are commonly made by C-L psychiatrists when they share what led them to our subspecialty, says Larkin Kao, MD, chair of the Medical Student Education Subcommittee.
They had been set on a field of interest, only to have that change when they happened to be assigned to a C-L Psychiatry clerkship.
“What if every medical student had this exposure?” asks Dr. Kao.
A survey by the subcommittee demonstrated highly favorable views by medical students on C-L Psychiatry rotations (Meyer, et al., 2018).
“Almost all physicians will work in hospital settings, and learning fundamental C-L Psychiatry skills will be useful, regardless of their area of practice,” argues Dr. Kao. “More universal C-L Psychiatry exposure can enhance psychiatric education for all physicians and improve patient care for individuals with mental health comorbidities.”
Moreover, that survey—and another survey from the Fellowship Education Subcommittee—have shown that C-L Psychiatry exposure in medical school can increase student interest in Psychiatry as a career and influence residents’ decisions to pursue C-L Psychiatry subspecialty fellowship (Becker, et al., 2021).
Given the importance of C-L Psychiatry exposure for education and recruitment, ACLP is urging members to advocate for their respective medical schools with Psychiatry consultation services to provide C-L Psychiatry rotation opportunities for every medical student.
“C-L Psychiatry provides a unique educational environment for students,” says Dr. Kao. “Where available, every medical student should rotate in this setting to learn critical patient care skills in a multidisciplinary health care team.
“Increasing student exposure to C-L Psychiatry will prepare graduating physicians to treat patients’ psychiatric conditions in concert with other medical conditions and has the potential to make a significant impact on comprehensive, collaborative patient care.
“Please contact leaders of your institution’s medical student clerkship and urge them to include C-L experiences for all students if they are not already doing so.”