Our Older People’s Rapid Response Liaison Psychiatry team consistently receive fantastic feedback from medical students they support. They have been described as a model team based at the QMC, that demonstrate what true multidisciplinary teamwork is when it comes to medical student attachments in the Trust.
The team has medical students most mornings during their Health Care Of Later Life (HCOLL) placement, and offer an opportunity for them to shadow their doctors, nurses, clinical nurse specialists or occupational therapist in completing initial assessments (that is meeting a patient for the first time and spending around an hour taking a complete biopsychosocial history before considering the need for further investigations, diagnosis and management options). Alternatively, they may shadow a member of the team in following-up patients where they would not go into much depth to obtain background history but might see three to four patients with different presentations over the course of the morning.
One student commented, “Paula is an incredible specialist that I followed that morning. I appreciate so much more the work that RRLP has to do and how they cover QMC and City.
“Being exposed to psychiatry for the first time, I found each patient that we covered very interesting and complex (financial exploitation of a patient with dementia, suicidal ideation, bipolar, depression) and I have immense respect for specialists like Paula having to go from one complex case to another.
“Paula also gave me learning points wherever there was an opportunity and was happy to answer any questions I had. Only improvement is I wished we had more time on RRLP!”
Dr Sarah Wilson, Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead for the team, shared more about the service and what it is like supporting students.
“We are the Older People’s Liaison Psychiatry team at NUH and provide mental health input to NUH inpatients over the age of 65 (or younger if they have a diagnosis of young onset dementia). We see patients with known mental illness who are open to community services or transferred from the inpatient wards, patients who have no mental health history but who might be having a psychological reaction to a physical illness or prolonged hospital admission and patients who are identified as having undiagnosed dementia. We also see patients with acute behavioural disturbance due to delirium, patients who attend hospital feeling suicidal or have attempted to take their own life, everything else in between and more
“We find that medical students really enjoy the time they spend with us, whichever member of the team they shadow, as they get to spend time with patients and see a detailed assessment. Whatever speciality students might be considering once they qualify, they get to see the role of psychiatry in the general hospital and recognise the psychological impact of physical illness and the hospital environment, as well as realising that they will encounter dementia, delirium, depression, psychosis, and normal reactions such as grief, whatever speciality they may choose.
The team received some more fantastic feedback from another student who said:
“Dr Ray and Dr Parkin were really welcoming when I arrived on Tuesday morning. They showed me how to find some background information on the patients on Rio and discussed the patient with me as if they were talking to another doctor instead of a medical student. I thought they were very kind to welcome me like this. Sometimes you feel that you should stay quiet and not contribute during doctors' discussions but with them felt that I could contribute and ask questions without people getting annoyed with me! They really made me feel part of the team - thank you!”
The team find it very beneficial to be able to provide this one-to-one teaching and raise awareness of their service, so that when these medical students become junior doctors, they know about the service, what they do and can make appropriate referrals to them.