Core undergraduate psychiatry: what do non-specialists need to know?

Sam Wilson, John M. Eagles, Julie Platt, Hamish McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective.The purpose of this study is to define the most relevant topics for inclusion in an undergraduate psychiatric curriculum by asking non-psychiatrists what knowledge, skills and attitudes related to psychiatry they need in their day-to-day practice.

Methods.A questionnaire study involving non-psychiatric doctors (based both in hospitals and general practice) was carried out using Delphi methodology in 2 waves. In the first wave, 408 doctors described the psychiatric competencies they required in their current posts. From this, a list of 101 psychiatric topics was generated. In the second wave, 867 doctors rated these topics according to the relevance of each topic to their practice.

Results.Depression, alcohol misuse and drug misuse were rated as most relevant. General practitioners found more topics relevant to their practice than did hospital doctors, and there were disparities in the relative importance that the 2 groups gave to topics.

Conclusions.This study demonstrates a systematic method for developing core curricular undergraduate learning objectives in a specialty area by asking doctors outside that specialty to identify topics that are relevant to their practice. Similar methods could be used for a range of specialties other than psychiatry and could provide a rational and transparent means of developing a core curriculum for medical students, when combined with perspectives from other sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-702
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Education
Issue number7
Early online date15 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • education
  • medical
  • undergraduate
  • psychiatry, education
  • curriculum
  • clinical competence
  • Scotland
  • attitude of health personnel
  • family practice
  • medical staff
  • hospital
  • medical-students
  • Delphi technique
  • guide


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