The role of the Academic Faculty in Undergraduate
Statement from the Academic Faculty Executive Committee
High quality teaching of psychiatry to undergraduate medical
students is crucial to the future provision of medical care. High
quality teaching of psychiatry to undergraduate medical students is
crucial not only to the future of psychiatry but also to future
provision of medical care. Medicine is a university course and
psychiatric education should be led by academic psychiatrists; all psychiatrists have a
professional duty to contribute to the teaching and training of the
next generation of doctors.
Students will take psychiatry seriously if their learning
experience is relevant to their work as doctors, if they are
stimulated and excited by observing the complexities of psychiatric
care, and if they are offered new and challenging ideas, including
presentation of up to date research in psychiatry. The aim should
be to ensure that all future doctors in every specialty respect and
support the delivery of high quality psychiatric care across the
life span, and that we encourage motivated students to consider a
career in psychiatry.
1. The Undergraduate Education
Forum was established to bring together the undergraduate teaching
leads in psychiatry from each UK medical schoolin order to promote
discussion of core material for undergraduate teaching, provide
agreement on the standards of learning in psychiatry expected of
graduating doctors, and enable sharing of best practice and new
initiatives across medical schools.
2. Undergraduate teaching of
Psychiatry should be led by University departments of Psychiatry,
with designated academic psychiatrists taking a major role in
undergraduate teaching. While other medical specialists, such as
general practitioners, may play a role in teaching students about
mental illness, curriculum design, delivery and assessment should
remain the responsibility of psychiatrists. Academic psychiatrists
will also teach modules and offer research projects in psychiatry
for intercalated BSc degrees.
3. Teaching should be recognised
and rewarded. The Academic Faculty strongly supports academic
promotion on the basis of excellence in teaching, while in the NHS,
contribution to teaching should be a significant factor in
evaluating applications for clinical excellence awards.
4. Psychiatrists who teach medical
students should have access to training in appropriate methods of
teaching and in developing valid and reliable assessments. Such
training should be a recognised part of CPD both for trainees and
5. Consultants who teach medical
students should have protected time for teaching students in their
job plans and their clinical load should be reduced
accordingly. Trainees who teach should also have protected
6. Trusts should be encouraged,
and if necessary challenged, to explain how they use the funding of
clinical teaching (Service Increment for Teaching), and they should
account for how this funding contributes to additional service
costs (see point 5).
7. Teaching issues should be
included within the Faculty annual meeting.
8. High quality pedagogic research
in psychiatry should be encouraged.
9. Career paths and
appropriate substantive posts should be available for clinical