To engage patients as teachers of psychiatrists in training and non-consultant career grades, for the purpose of enhancing doctors' understanding of the patient point of view and of the complexity of the doctor–patient relationship. Patients have been engaged as teachers in a recurrent cycle of ‘Basic Interview Skills' workshops and the views of the doctors about this initiative have been elicited through a brief anonymous and confidential questionnaire.
Thirty-six psychiatric senior house officers (SHOs), general practitioners, Vocational Training Scheme SHOs in psychiatry, and staff grade and trust doctors in psychiatry have participated in four cycles of workshops. Five patients have engaged in the workshops as teachers, alongside the clinical tutor. Questionnaire feedback indicated some specific criticisms of a number of participants and dissatisfaction by a small minority of doctors, but the overall evaluation of the experience was positive.
Engagement of patients as teachers of psychiatrists in training and other new doctors in mental health services is desirable, feasible and welcomed by most doctors. With due attention to the legitimate sensitivities of participants, the practice of engaging patients as teachers of doctors working in psychiatry could be generalised in training schemes and services across the country.
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