Make a mental note
Patients who experience mental health disorders in healthcare settings are not always confined to the psychiatric ward. No matter where you are working, you need to be prepared to assess and manage challenging behaviours and presentations that could be the result of an underlying mental health disorder.
The work of the liaison psychiatry team is an example of how mental health issues permeate all hospital departments. On p38, Jessica Scott and Kieron Kumar, foundation year 2 doctors, and Peter Aitken and Thirza Peters, consultant liaison psychiatrists, describe when you might need to call for assistance from this multidisciplinary mental health team, which can advise on and assess patients experiencing mental health problems while in hospital.
Marina Soltan, foundation year 1 doctor, and Joseph Girguis, a consultant psychiatrist, also provide an overview on how to perform a mental state examination. Do you know the difference between “mood” and “affect”? Find out on p36.
On p41, Rory Conn and Adam Monsell, trainee psychiatrists, and Helen Bruce, a consultant psychiatrist, offer tips on building rapport with children and young people who are experiencing mental health problems.
Interested in a career in psychiatry? On p53, consultant psychiatrist Jasdev Grewal gives an overview of the psychiatry training programme in UK medical schools.
Suicide among medical students is a persistent problem worldwide. A systematic review in the Journal of the American Medical Association at the end of 2016 noted that 11% of medical students reported thoughts of suicide—a higher percentage than the general population and a trend that has remained consistent since the 1970s. In her feature on medical student suicide (p44), Flavia Munn, a freelance journalist, talks to some UK based students who have attempted suicide, investigates how the culture of medical school drives this behaviour, and looks at how medical schools are helping students cope better with the stresses of studying to become a doctor.
On p24, George Gillett, a fourth year medical student, questions how accurately medical students’ empathy skills can be assessed by objective structured clinical examinations and asks whether medical schools are producing students who are just adept at pretending that they care.
In this issue we welcome our new careers columnist, Sophia Bourne, a careers consultant at the British Medical Association. She answers your questions about switching foundation schools midway through the training programme, about choosing extracurricular activities that will support future specialty applications, and how to write a medical CV.
As we roll towards the summer, it is the time to make your application count if you’re applying to medical school. On student.bmj.com we have many resources to help you prepare for work experience placements, write personal statements, choose a medical school, and practise for the UK Clinical Aptitude Test. On p114, Mary Jane Platt, admissions tutor at Norwich medical school, offers advice on how to reflect on your work experience in your personal statement, and three other admissions tutors explain how to improve your performance for the interview season (p115).
Fancy being a Student BMJ rep? We are looking for medical students from each UK medical school to spread the word about Student BMJ, to help us organise focus groups, and to suggest content ideas via our private Facebook group. In return, you’ll get an insight into the world of medical publishing, free access to student.bmj.com, and a profile on the website, and you will receive certificates for your portfolio. If this role interests you, please write a paragraph about why you would make an excellent representative for us and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (deadline 31 May 2017).
I hope you have a great summer.Matthew Billingsley, editor, Student BMJ
Competing interests: None declared.
Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.