The burden of mental health is in the community
General psychiatric wards represent the tip of the iceberg in terms of population disease burden. In order to truly understand psychiatry, you need to appreciate how it is practised in the community.
It would be worth spending time within community teams exploring the possible opportunities listedin the table at the end.
Modern biological treatments
To understand the biological treatments used in modern psychiatry, carry around a copy of the British National Formulary (BNF) and look up any medications you see prescribed as you go along.
Make use of the Maudsley prescribing guidelines in order to look up indications for treatments. It would be useful to attend an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) session at a local hospital.
Psychotherapy within psychiatry
One interesting development that has set psychiatry apart from other medical specialties has been the allied development of psychotherapy as part and 'partner' of psychiatry.
It is worth reading about the basics of psychotherapy, that is the principles of Freudian theory and the concepts of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
To understand treatment of real cases, speak to specialty trainees as well as psychologists about examples of cases they have worked with.