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Med Teach. 2003 Mar;25(2):167-70.

Interviewing and case presentations in the presence of patients in undergraduate psychiatry: an experiment.

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  • 1North Jerusalem Community Mental Health Center, Herzog Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.


A project to teach psychiatry to medical students in a protected workshop is described. The aim was to provide extended exposure to mental illness in the community but also for the students to present their findings to their peers and teacher in the presence of the patient. From a content analysis of the comments of the students and the patients, it emerges that while the experience was a positive one overall, the students were uncomfortable asking personal questions, and had particular difficulty presenting the patient's mental state and diagnosis in the patient's presence. Many of the patients were ultra-orthodox Jews and the conditions of the interviews often caused them religious concern. The experience was important for its emphasis on communication, and the feedback from the students and patients succeeded in identifying areas for change, such as accommodating religious concerns, and discussing with the patient sensitive issues such as the meaning of a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

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