Psychiatry as a Speciality in the Eyes of Future Saudi Doctors: A One year follow up Study
Objectives: (1) To assess and compare the change in the attitude of medical students before and after a six week's psychiatry clerkship. (2) To compare the results of this year with the previous year in a similarly designed study. (3) To assess any change in attitude at one year follow up.
Methodology: A quasi-experimental intervention study was carried out by administering "Attitude towards Psychiatry-30 (ATP-30)" questionnaire to assess medical students' perceptions about psychiatry, psychiatric diseases and teaching in psychiatry. Pre and post clerkship differences were found using appropriate tests of association. Place of study was Majmah Medical University, Al Majmah city, KSA. A convenience consecutive sample of thirty-nine 5th year medical students was recruited in the study who were about to undergo their psychiatry module rotation. Ninety-nine students of last year batch who had undergone a similar process the previous year were also included to assess any change in their ATP-30 scores at one year follow up.
Result: Sample had overall positive attitude towards psychiatry. Mean ATP-30 score rose from 98.35 to 102.03 posttest; however, this change was not significant statistically (p-0.223). There was a statistically significant increase in positive views about psychiatry such as information disseminated in psychiatry is scientific (0.005), psychiatrists are good role models (0.002) and more time should be spent in teaching psychiatry (0.005). However, a statistically significant increase in some negative views was also noticed posttest such as psychiatry not being a respected field of medicine, hospitals being like prisons and about psychiatrist talking more and working less. One year follow up of students showed a significant increase in the percentage of students who wished to pursue psychiatry as a future career. There was however a significant drop in the mean ATP score (p value=0.001) as compared to the time when they undertook psychiatry rotation previous year.
Conclusion: Psychiatric teaching, carried out utilizing a structured training module may positively influence the students’ career choice and attitude toward psychiatry both in short and long term.