ABSTRACT: Assessing competencies during education in psychiatry
Abstract The utilization of competencies in medical education is relatively recent. In 1999 the United States Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) established six main competencies. Since then, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology have approved a specific list of competencies for their specialities in each of the ACGME’s core competency areas. Assessment of competencies in both medical students and residents can be achieved through such methods as structured case discussion, direct observation, simulation, standardized patients, and 360-degree assessments, etc. Each assessment methodology has specific applications in the discipline of psychiatry. This paper reviews the different methods for assessing competencies with specific examples in psychiatric education. It is not intended as a comprehensive review of all assessment methods, but to provide examples and strategies to guide psychiatric educators in their practice. Students and residents were intentionally separated because there are differences in the teaching goals and objectives, and thus in the assessment purposes and design. Students are general, undifferentiated physicians-in-training who need to learn about psychiatric nosology, examinations, and treatment. Residents are mental health professionals who need more in-depth supervision in order to hone skills in all the specialized areas that arise in psychiatric practices, making supervision a vital part of residency programs.