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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 6-11

Attitude of medical students toward mentally ill patients: impact of a clinical psychiatric round

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Reem H ElGhamry
MD, MRCPsych, Lecturer of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University. 8 Mugamaa El Ferdous, Nasr St., Nasr City, Cairo, 11471
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1083.176321

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Background Stereotyped cognitive schemes are the main cause of casting out patients with mental illness. Educational psychiatry programs have to be re-evaluated as medical students often have misconceptions about psychiatry. Objective The aim of the present study was to examine the attitude of fifth-year medical students toward psychiatric patients and disorders, and to reveal the influence of psychiatric study experience on their attitudes. Participants and methods In this interventional study, 300 fifth-year students from Ain Shams University Medical School were enrolled. Sociodemographic data sheet, Fahmy and El Sherbiny's Social Classification Scale, and the Mental Illness Clinician Attitude Scale-2 were used on the first and last day of a 3-week clinical psychiatric round. Results Data before and after the round were compared and showed no significant change in Mental Illness Clinician Attitude Scale-2 scores among the studied sample after the psychiatric round. Only 4% of the students chose psychiatry as a future career with neutral attitude and had worse attitude after rotation. Students who had significant positive attitude at the beginning of the round ended up with a significantly more negative attitude, whereas those with significantly negative attitudes improved at the end of the round. Conclusion Three weeks may not be sufficient time to allow students to follow up the patients to notice their improvement as regards treatment and return to their functional baseline. Thus, students perceived mentally ill patients being untreatable. Greater emphasis on doctor-patient relationship and exposure to patients with psychiatric illness, which responds rapidly to treatment and students taking direct patient responsibility, may lead to the production of more favorable attitudes.

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