- learn about the conceptual framework Hodges' model. A tool that can help integrate HEALTH and SOCIAL CARE, INFORMATICS and EDUCATION. The model is situated, facilitates person-centredness, integrated - holistic care and reflective practice. A new site using Drupal is an ongoing aim - the creation of a reflective workbench. Email: h2cmng @ yahoo.co.uk Welcome

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Psychiatric Bulletin - Letter: Psychiatry for medical students: need for a more holistic approach to teaching?

From: Psychiatric Bulletin -


Kristina Rodney and Laura Wilkinson

Kristina Rodney and Laura Wilkinson are both ST4 medical students, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK, email:k.rodney AT newcastle.ac.uk.

We are two medical students who wish to offer a perspective on undergraduate education and psychiatry.

During our student placement, we attended the old age psychiatry module at the Northern Deanery MRCPsych programme focusing on dementia and ethics. This was aimed at trainees and not specifically medical students but we were surprised to find that this was not above our level of knowledge. This prompted discussion of undergraduate psychiatry training more broadly, which we felt focused too heavily on the diagnosis of mental illness and less so on the holistic approach to the patient and their presentation as covered by the MRCPsych course. From our experience of undergraduate psychiatry we feel that the assessment by means of a logbook of conditions encourages students to find patients with a certain diagnosis, and in doing so overlooks the true essence of psychiatry. To our mind this incorporates the ability to consider all aspects of a patient’s life and formulating these, while demonstrating compassion for another person at a time of most need.

Through choosing a 6-week placement in old age psychiatry we have been able to explore the specialty more thoroughly and broadly than facilitated within the standard undergraduate programme, and we have realised how little of psychiatry we have been exposed to as undergraduates. We have become more aware of the importance of considering the patient’s personal and social circumstances alongside their diagnosis, and how these can influence each other. Specifically, the importance of a sound ethical approach to practice has been highlighted through the higher-level teaching we experienced, where the Mental Capacity Act was discussed in detail.

We believe that it would benefit undergraduates to experience a more realistic and rounded placement in psychiatry and truly consider the social implications of mental illness. As it currently stands, undergraduate education in psychiatry is oversimplified to focus on diagnosis and does not acknowledge the capabilities of medical students to adopt a holistic approach. An opportunity to consider all aspects of a psychiatrist’s role may encourage more students to consider a career in this field.


I have contacted the authors of this letter to inform them of Hodges' model and its scope in assuring holistic and integrated care. The model could also facilitate curriculum development. The authors of the letter are not endorsing Hodges' model, I am seeking to highlight the need for such a resource.

Thanks to:
Lucy Alexander
Rights and Permissions Manager
Royal College of Psychiatrists

Stumble Upon Toolbar