Acquisition of the complement of abilities which characterizes the breadth and depth of the mature psychiatrist is a life-long process. The residency experience represents the most concentrated focus on these qualities and each individual brings unique characteristics to the process.
Since comprehensive patient care is the heart of psychiatry, our educational efforts begin with and emphasize scientifically-based, compassionate, cost-effective patient care. Indeed patients often are the best teachers because they stimulate patient-centered learning. As adult-learners, residents must find the format for learning which best serves their purposes. Clinical experiences, mentoring, didactics, group discussions, and directed or independent reading each have value. The Department provides structure and support for each of these approaches to resident education.
Patient-care activities with student, peer, and faculty colleagues form the essence of hands-on learning. Ample opportunity exists for broad-based patient contact. Indeed, the spectrum that is psychiatry is well represented in our hospitals and clinics.
We have faculty who specialize in every area of psychiatry. Residents are allowed to work with sufficient autonomy so that they begin to develop practice patterns which will sustain them throughout their careers. But autonomy is balanced by thoughtful input from faculty functioning in their role as senior advisors. Residents have some clinical encounters observed directly by supervisory faculty in order that specific and meaningful feedback can be given. Similarly, as residents mold their own professional behavior, they have the opportunity to observe patient interaction and problem-solving by seasoned clinicians. This collegiality, coupled with a healthy spirit of inquiry shared by residents and faculty together, enriches the educational environment.
A very extensive 4-year system of didactics is in place. A diversity of faculty participate in these seminars, which occur on Friday mornings, as well as some noon hours. Residents are provided a balanced didactic schedule, including training in various psychotherapy modalities. Our scores on the PRITE (Psychiatry Residents In Training Exam) evidence the depth and robustness of these didactics. We also have monthly conferences that residents participate in and present, including Journal Club, M&M, and Grand Rounds. In addition to a diverse didactic selection, residents are currently provided access to the "Beat the Boards!" board preparation course for each year of residency. Residents are successfully prepared to pass psychiatry boards upon graduation.