The impact of a psychiatry clinical rotation on the attitude of Nigerian medical students to psychiatry
AFRICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY
Objective: Undergraduate medical students have ingrained and often negative attitudes towards psychiatry as a field and as a career. This in turn has affected recruitment of graduate medical students into the specialty Little is known about the impact of psychiatry rotations during undergraduate medical training on students' attitudes about psychiatry and eventual specialty choice in developing countries. This study examined the impact of a psychiatry clinical rotation on medical students' attitudes to psychiatry and possible career choice. Method: Eighty-one and one hundred and six fifth year medical students completed the ATP-30, socio-demographic and career choice questionnaires at the beginning and the end of a four week clinical rotation respectively Results: The overall attitude of the students to psychiatry was favourable at the beginning of the rotation with significant improvement following the rotation (p=0.003). Significant improvement in attitude was observed among female and younger students. Students who indicated preference for specialties other than psychiatry showed a greater improvement in their attitude to psychiatry following the rotation (p=0.011). The rotation however did not enhance students' preference for psychiatry as a future career. Conclusion: The four-week clinical rotation in psychiatry resulted in increased mean attitudinal score, but not in enhanced preference for psychiatry as a career.