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Are journal clubs useful in teaching psychiatry?

  • Geraldine Swift

Journal clubs are a mandatory aspect of psychiatric training in the UK, yet are not always seen as a stimulating experience. Clarifying the aim of the club and tailoring it to the needs and wishes of the audience is an essential step. Teaching skills in critical appraisal is often seen as the main purpose of journal clubs. Depending on the audience, being able to formulate questions from clinical dilemmas, search the literature, and integrate research evidence, clinical expertise and the patient's needs and wishes may be as important. Linking these tasks in the journal club with routine clinical practice increases the chances of changing attitudes and behaviour and thus influencing care. New approaches to using social media and online formats mean that journal clubs are no longer restricted to a particular place or time, although the social aspect of meeting colleagues continues to be important for many.

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Corresponding author
Dr Geraldine Swift, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Department of Liaison Psychiatry, Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton CH4 95PE, UK. Email:
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See commentary, pp. 211–212, this issue. Preparing trainees for the MRCPsych is discussed on pp. 194–200.


• Understand the various formats that journal clubs may take and reflect on how these relate to different aims

• Understand the evidence base for the effectiveness of journal clubs in meeting their aims

• Recognise the factors that are important in setting up or revitalising a journal club and consider strategies to overcome potential barriers



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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
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Are journal clubs useful in teaching psychiatry?

  • Geraldine Swift
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