A general education in psychiatry does not necessary lead to good diagnostic skills. Specific training programs in diagnostic coding are established to facilitate implementation of ICD-10 coding practices. However, studies comparing the impact of these two different educational approaches on diagnostic skills are lacking. The aim of the current study was to find out if a specific training program in diagnostic coding improves the diagnostic skills better than a general education program, and if a national bias in diagnostic patterns can be minimised by a specific training in diagnostic coding.
A pre post design study with two groups was carried in the county of Archangelsk, Russia. The control group (39 psychiatrists) took the required course (general educational program), while the intervention group (45 psychiatrists) were given a specific training in diagnostic coding. Their diagnostic skills before and after education were assessed using 12 written case-vignettes selected from the entire spectrum of psychiatric disorders.
There was a significant improvement in diagnostic skills in both the intervention group and the control group. However, the intervention group improved significantly more than did the control group. The national bias was partly corrected in the intervention group but not to the same degree in the control group. When analyzing both groups together, among the background factors only the current working place impacted the outcome of the intervention.
Establishing an internationally accepted diagnosis seems to be a special skill that requires specific training and needs to be an explicit part of the professional educational activities of psychiatrists. It does not appear that that skill is honed without specific training. The issue of national diagnostic biases should be taken into account in comparative cross-cultural studies of almost any character. The mechanisms of such biases are complex and need further consideration in future research. Future research should also address the question as to whether the observed improvement in diagnostic skills after specific training actually leads to changes in routine diagnostic practice.
This paper describes an innovative education program for the management of mental health problems in long-term care (LTC) homes and the evaluation of its longer-term sustainability. Since 1998, the "Putting the P.I.E.C.E.S. Together" learning initiative has been providing education sessions and related learning strategies aimed at developing the knowledge and skills of health professionals who care for older persons with complex physical and mental health needs and associated behaviors, in Ontario, Canada. A major focus of this province-wide initiative was the development of in-house Psychogeriatric Resource Persons (PRPs). Evaluation of this initiative included the completion of pre- and post-education questionnaires (over three data collection time periods) assessing learner confidence (N = 1,024 and 792, for pre- and post-education, respectively) and session evaluation questionnaires gathering feedback on the session (N = 2,029 across all sessions). A survey of LTC homes in Ontario (N = 439, 79% of the homes in the province) was conducted to assess longer-term sustainability.
Ratings of the sessions indicated that they were relevant to learners' clinical practice. There were significant increases in ratings of ability to recognize and understand challenging behaviors and mental health problems, and in ability to use a variety of assessment tools. Few homes (15%) do not have a PRP; over 50% of the staff who completed the first session in 1999 continue to serve as a PRP and to apply learned skills.
A learning initiative with supportive and reinforcing strategies can develop in-house PRPs to enhance the care of the elderly in LTC. Incorporation of PRP functions into job descriptions and management support contributed to the success of this initiative. This study highlights the importance of work environments that support and reinforce the use of learned skills to the success of continuing education and quality improvement initiatives in LTC.
The Skills Immersion Program (SKIP) provides an educational opportunity for staff nurses who face the challenge of caring for residents who present with psychiatric and behavioral problems in long-term care (LTC) facilities within British Columbia, Canada. With the aging population and an increase in the number of individuals waiting for placement in care facilities, care providers are in substantial need of advanced education and training in the field of geriatric psychiatry nursing. Nurses working in LTC facilities in Canada are not prepared to manage the changing acuity levels and complex needs of their residents. The SKIP was developed by nurses, primarily for nurses, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Nurses who participate in the SKIP acquire an enhanced knowledge base in geriatric psychiatry nursing and gain access to assessment tools that will assist staff to increase the quality of care for their residents.
In response to perceived controversies regarding interactions between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry, we undertook a study to look at the relationship between Canadian psychiatry training programs and the pharmaceutical industry.
The authors distributed a survey to the residency program directors and chief residents of the 16 psychiatry training programs in Canada.
Of respondents, 75 per cent were either unaware of or noted an absence of policies or guidelines regarding interactions with the pharmaceutical industry in their training programs; 70 per cent viewed staff psychiatrists and residents to be at least 50 per cent familiar with the Canadian Medical Association's policy summary; and 74 per cent were unaware of any structural teaching regarding potential conflicts of interest between psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. A significant number of respondents perceived occasional excessive influence by the pharmaceutical industry on residents' training.
Despite concerns about potential conflicts of interest, there are a few guidelines in most psychiatry training programs in Canada regarding the relationship between physicians and the pharmaceutical industry.
The Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) curriculum was developed as an adjunct to other educational initiatives that were part of Ontario, Canada's Alzheimer Strategy. GPA emphasizes that an individual's unique personal history has a direct application to the interpretation of and response to their behavior. It incorporates strategies into geriatric patient care to assist staff to respond effectively to verbal and physical expressions of need.
A pre- and postintervention approach was used to evaluate the effectiveness of GPA: (a) Staff Satisfaction Surveys immediately after GPA training and after 3 months, (b) risk event profiling to monitor aggressive behavior rates, (c) occupational health and safety records pre- and post-GPA training, and (d) Residential Assessment Instrument-Mental Health indicators pre- and post-GPA training.
Surveys revealed that GPA training significantly improved staff's response to challenging behaviors, understanding of how brain changes impact behavior, and learning strategies to respond to challenging behaviors. Specific body containment techniques were less employed on geriatric patients who experience responsive behaviors. Pre- and postphysical aggression rates declined over the 6-month period following GPA training. The training did not appear to impact occupational injury rates.
GPA appears to be a useful and positive approach for providing care to an inpatient geriatric psychiatry population. Specific body containment techniques may be less useful when employed with patients who have responsive behaviors. The program evaluation suggests that application of the GPA curriculum may be extended to patients with diagnoses other than dementia.
With the explosion of research in psychiatric neuroscience, the extent and means by which neuroscientific progress will translate into clinical care remains largely uncertain. The authors sought to determine how this dilemma is currently being played out in residency training programs, in which training directors must decide how best to integrate neuroscience teaching in a rapidly changing clinical landscape.
The authors surveyed U.S. and Canadian psychiatry residency training directors to characterize current and future trends in neuroscience education and to examine training directors' views on the relevance of neuroscience to clinical practice.
The amount of neuroscience in residency curricula has increased significantly over the past 5 years, and further increases are expected in each specific neuroscience content area examined. While most training directors agreed that training in neuroscience was important for all residents, even those becoming primarily psychotherapists, relevance to future (but not current) practice was consistently cited as a motivating factor.
While psychiatric residency programs continue to increase the neuroscience content of their curricula, it remains unclear how this added training will influence clinical work. Reframing current practices, including psychotherapy, into a neuroscientific context may ultimately prove more useful to trainees.
Understanding the role of religion and spirituality is significant for psychiatric practice. Implementation of formal education and training on religious and spiritual issues, however, is lacking. Few psychiatric residencies offer mandatory courses or evaluation of course utility. The authors present findings from a pilot study of a course on the interface between spirituality, religion, and psychiatry. Course objectives were to increase both residents' understanding of clinically relevant spiritual/religious issues and their comfort in addressing these issues in their clinical work.
A 6-hour mandatory course was implemented for third- and fourth-year psychiatry residents at the University of British Columbia. Teaching sessions consisted of didactic and case-based modules delivered by multidisciplinary faculty. The Course Impact Questionnaire, a 20-item Likert scale, was used to assess six areas: personal spiritual attitudes, professional practice attitudes, transpersonal psychiatry, competency, attitude change toward religion and spirituality, and change in practice patterns. A pre/post study design was used with the questionnaire being administered at week 0, week 6, and 6 months follow-up to two groups of residents (N=30). Qualitative feedback was elicited through written comments.
The results from this pilot study showed that there was increased knowledge and skill base for residents who participated in the sessions. Paired t test analysis indicated a statistically significant difference between the pre- and postsession scale for competency. No other statistically significant differences were found for the other components.
The findings suggest improvement in the competency scores for residents and overall usefulness of this course; however, limited conclusions can be made due to a small sample size and lack of adequate comparison groups. Establishing educational significance will require gathering larger usable control data as well as validation of the Course Impact Questionnaire tool to distinguish between different skill levels.
We designed our study to assess if computer-assisted anti-stigma interventions can be effective in reducing the level of psychiatric stigma in a sample of special education university students.
We enrolled 193 graduate students. They had two study visits with an interval of 6 months. The participants were randomly distributed into three study groups: 76 students read anti-stigma printed materials (reading group, RG), and 69 studied an anti-stigma computer program (program group, PG), and 48 students were in a control group (CG) and received no intervention. We used the Bogardus scale of social distance (BSSD), the community attitudes toward the mentally ill (CAMI) questionnaire, and the psychiatric knowledge survey (PKS) as the main outcome measures.
After the intervention BSSD, CAMI and PKS scores significantly improved both in RG and PG. After 6 months in RG two out of three CAMI subscales and PKS scores were not different from the baseline. In PG all stigma and knowledge changes remained significant.
This study demonstrated that computers can be an effective mean in changing attitudes of students toward psychiatric patients.
A computer-mediated intervention has the potential for educating graduate students about mental disease and for reducing psychiatric stigma.