Elements of an Excellent Psychiatry Clerkship Experience: A Survey Study of Graduating Medical Students

Rachel A. Russo, Benjamin T. Griffeth, Heidi Combs, Victoria Dinsell, Jayme M. Palka, Mary K. Morreale, Paul R. Borghesani, Bethany L. Harper, Donald M. Hilty, Lisa Fore-Arcand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: One possible factor associated with choosing psychiatry as a career is students rating their psychiatry clerkship as excellent. Although this suggests that an excellent clerkship may improve recruitment into psychiatry, to our knowledge there has never been a multi-site survey study of graduating medical students that identify what factors lead to an excellent clerkship rating. The purpose of this study was to determine factors that medical student find important for an excellent psychiatry clerkship experience. Methods: A total of 1457 graduating medical students at eight institutions were sent a 22-item Likert-type survey about what clinical and administrative factors they considered when rating their psychiatry clerkship via email in the fall of their last year. 357 (24.5%) responded and Z-test, t-tests, and multiple regression analyses were carried out. Results: The factors which students rated higher than the mean included planned application to psychiatry residency, clear expectations, a transparent grading process, feeling part of a team, timely feedback by faculty, and a competent clerkship coordinator and director. Lectures, active learning, and self-study were rated as less pertinent, and the overall clerkship rating did differ between students going into psychiatry versus other specialties. Conclusions: Although the low response undermines the validity of findings, by improving the administration of the clerkship with clear expectations, grading, feedback, and by encouraging clinical teams to fully integrate students clerkship ratings might improve which could potentially improve recruitment. Future research could further quantify and qualify these parameters and compare psychiatric clerkships to other clerkships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Clerkship
  • Medical education
  • Psychiatry
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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