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Student learning needs in psychiatry

Neel Halder (Alpha Hospital, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Rachel Pearson (Central Manchester Foundation NHS Hospitals Trust, Manchester, UK)
Lik‐Chee Ricci Chang (Department of Psychiatry, Mind Pro Psychological Medicine, Hong Kong, China)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 14 September 2012




This study aims to explore the area of learning materials used by students in their psychiatry placement in more detail, and to identify any gaps not adequately filled currently. It also seeks to explore student interest in psychiatry and whether they are considering pursuing it as a future career.


This was a cross sectional study, using questionnaires completed by medical students about their psychiatric undergraduate placement at Manchester University.


Of 144 students, 126 responded (response rate 87.5 per cent). Students spent a mean of 10.1 hours a week studying psychiatry (outside formal teaching). Handouts from lectures or tutors were most commonly used (by 95.2 per cent of respondents) with journals and podcasts being the least common (18.5 per cent and 17.5 per cent, respectively). Psychiatric textbooks were the most useful material for learning about psychiatry. Students identified the need for better quality, more structured and more frequent teaching (n=58). They also identified a need for greater clinical experience and increased availability of resources such as textbooks.

Research limitations/implications

Knowing what materials and resources students prefer to learn from will be crucial to maximize the delivery of an enjoyable and educational psychiatry module. This in turn may result in more students choosing psychiatry as a career. Larger studies are required to support the findings in this study.


To the authors' knowledge, there is very little published research into what materials medical students use to learn for their psychiatry placement.



Halder, N., Pearson, R. and Ricci Chang, L. (2012), "Student learning needs in psychiatry", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 103-111.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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