Clinical Years

Jump to: MS-3 Psychiatry Clerkship MS-4 Psychiatry Electives

MS-3 Psychiatry Clerkship

Clerkship Learning Objectives:

Our clerkship objectives have been carefully developed to reflect and complement the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences program objectives. The primary goal of this clerkship is to increase the students’ clinical competency and comfort level in working with individuals with psychiatric illnesses. Although most of the students may not choose psychiatry as their future profession, all of them will work with patients with mental health issues in their respective specialty areas. Therefore, our goal is to provide them with portable clinical skill sets, pertaining to mental health, that they can take with them anywhere in their career.

  1. Demonstrate the understanding of psychiatric diagnoses in DSM 5
  2. Demonstrate the ability to elicit a complete psychiatric history
  3. Perform a mental status exam
  4. Demonstrate the development of differential diagnosis, work-up, and treatment plan
  5. Recognize life threatening and other serious complications of psychiatric conditions
  6. Demonstrate the ability to present a psychiatric case in oral and written formats
  7. Demonstrate effective communication with patients and their families
  8. Demonstrate appropriate professional and ethical behaviors related to the patients and other health care professionals
  9. Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning through inquiry and reflective practice

Clinical Sites & Services:

The six-week clerkship is designed to provide students with a mix of inpatient, outpatient, and emergency clinical experiences. Each student spends their six-week clinical rotation at one clerkship site that usually includes working in a general psychiatry inpatient unit and other hospital-based psychiatric clinical services. Each rotation offers a somewhat different atmosphere and clinical experience. However, by the end of the clerkship, all students will have attained the necessary degree of knowledge and expertise expected, regardless of the specific clinical sites/services to which they have been assigned.

1. George Washington University Hospital:

  • Adult Inpatient
  • Consult/Liaison Service

2. Children’s National Health System:

  • Adolescent Inpatient
  • Child Inpatient
  • Child Consult/Liaison Service

3. Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute:

  • Adult Inpatient

4. Psychiatric Institute of Washington:

  • Adult Inpatient
  • Adolescent Inpatient

5. Saint Elizabeths Hospital:

  • Adult Inpatient
  • Forensic Inpatient
  • Adult outpatient 35 K Street urgent care clinic

6. Veterans Administration Medical Center: (National/DC)

  • Adult Inpatient
  • Consult/Liaison Service
  • Outpatient Service
  • Emergency Psychiatry

7. Veterans Administration Medical Center (Martinsburg/W.VA):

  • Adult outpatient clinic
  • Geriatric long-term unit
  • Residential PTSD program
  • Residential Substance abuse program
  • Medication assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic

8. Sinai Hospital of Baltimore (Life Bridge Health)

  • Consultation Psychiatry
  • Adult Inpatient
  • Addiction Medicine
  • Child and Adolescent Psych Clinics- Tuesday, Thursday AM.
  • Psych ED (based on student requests)

9. Anne Arundel Medical Center (Luminis Health)

  • Adult Inpatient
  • Adolescent Partial Hospital Program
  • Medication assisted Treatment (MAT) clinic (varies)


Formal didactics take place on Wednesdays. Didactics include core topic presentations, participatory seminars, team-based learning sessions, ambulatory care applications, and standardized patient exercises.  The curriculum covers assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of major syndromes seen in both inpatient psychiatric and ambulatory medical settings, professional development, reflective practices, and medical humanities. The didactics build on what you have already learned in the preclinical curriculum.

Supervision & Evaluation:

Throughout this clerkship, students will acquire the clinical skills, knowledge, and professional behaviors necessary to evaluate and care for patients with growing independence, guided by consistent supervision and timely, formative feedback from the clinical supervisors.  Every student is observed and evaluated on interviewing, mental status exam, oral and written presentation, assessment and treatment planning skills as well as professionalism and teamwork. Formal feedback is provided at mid-rotation and at the conclusion of the rotation. All students are required to take the National Board of Medical Examination in Psychiatry.

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MS-4 Psychiatry Electives

Electives for fourth-year students who have completed a third-year clerkship in an accredited school include acting internship slots in inpatient adult psychiatry at the George Washington University Hospital (GWUH) and Northern Virginia Mental Health institute, as well as in consultation liaison psychiatry at GWUH. Other elective opportunities are in forensic psychiatry, HIV psychiatry, and independent studies.  The last elective can be tailored to the students’ specific interests and educational goals.

Students from other institutions interested in fourth-year electives must apply through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) of the American Association of Medical Colleges. Students from GW SMHS should consult the Senior Course Catalog for more information. We also welcomes direct inquiries from students about any of the courses described in the catalog.

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