Objectives for the undergraduate teaching of psychiatry: survey of doctors and students


D Goerg Département de psychiatrie, 2, Chemin du Petit-Bel-Air, CH-1225 Chêne-Bourg, Geneva, Switzerland



 The principal aim was to assess the psychiatric topics that doctors and students considered most important for undergraduate teaching. Differences between doctors and students, men and women, physicians/students with or without an interest in psychiatry were examined.


 A mailed questionnaire was used concerning the knowledge and skills of psychological/psychiatric medi- cine considered to be needed in medical practice.


 The Medical School of the University of Geneva.


 Doctors and undergraduate medical students in their last 2 years of medical training.


 Both doctors and students agreed on most topics, even though the students tended to give all items a higher rating. Both groups agreed on the importance of the following main topics: the doctor–patient relationship, identification and management of the principal psychiatric disorders and their associated risks and problems of a psychosocial nature. Those doctors showing an interest in psychiatry tended to accentuate the importance attached to interpersonal skills. The male and female doctors and students expressed very similar opinions. The female doctors, however, tended to attach greater importance to relational–emotional aspects and to disorders affecting children and adolescents than did their male colleagues, which is probably a reflection of the specific role that women still play within our society. When asked to assess the current teaching they received in medical school, the students considered that certain important aspects of psychiatry were insufficiently taught.


 These results confirm the importance of teaching psychiatry with an emphasis on problems encountered in general practice.