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Psychiatry Clerkship

During this four-week clerkship, you will see patients with mood disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, personality disorders, delirium and other psychiatric illnesses. We hope you will become comfortable talking with a wide variety of patients and develop strong interviewing skills that will help you in any specialty.

Students are assigned to either inpatient psychiatry or consultation-liaison psychiatry at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH), the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center or Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. On inpatient psychiatry, you will follow patients throughout their hospital admission, which can range from a few days to a few weeks. On consultation-liaison, you will evaluate patients on the medical, surgical and OB-GYN floors, providing psychiatric consultation to the primary medical team.

On Tuesday afternoons, all students come together for lectures at NMH. All students take call at NMH, where they evaluate patients in the emergency department and provide emergency consultation on the medical floors.

 Program Objectives (Competencies)

 Clerkship Goals & Objectives

 Assessment & EPAs

Final grades are based on your overall performance. Our goal is for all students to become competent in evaluating patients with mental illness.

The evaluation is composed of the following components:

Clinical Evaluation Evaluations by teaching attendings and residents

National Board of Medical Examiners Shelf Exam:

  • Two hours and 30 minutes are allotted for the exam on the last day of the clerkship
  • The grading for the NBME shelf exam will be Pass/Fail. The clerkship will use the published Hofstee Recommended Standard from the most recent year as the Pass/Fail cut point. All students who achieve a score of Pass on the shelf will receive full points towards their final grade.

Objective Structured Clinical Exam:

  • Given on the last day of the clerkship
  • Students will be asked to interview two standardized patients, write a mental status examination and formulate a differential diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Students will be evaluated by the standardized patients and faculty

Final grades will be determined by the clerkship director. Individual remediation plans will be developed for students who fail the clerkship. Students are welcome to meet with the clerkship director to discuss their grades.

 Required Clerkship Clinical Experiences (Clerklog) & Tools

The primary text for the clerkship is Kaplan and Sadock's Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry, which can be found via the Galter Library website.

When you arrive on the clerkship, you will be given access to the psychiatry-specific website, developed by Galter library staff to assist with your study of psychiatry.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the daily expectations for a M3 on this clerkship?

There is variation depending on your site.  Broadly, the expectations is to interview patients, write notes, attend groups as available, communicate with families and providers of patients to develop a comprehensive understanding of patient’s life, and assist teams in providing psychiatric care of patients. 

What is the typical schedule (number of days worked/hours per day) for this clerkship?

5 days a week, no regular weekend hours except for on-call responsibilities. The average work week is likely 50 hours.

What is pre-rounding? Rounding? Note writing expectations for this particular clerkship?

Again there is variability on service sites, but in general students will be expected to at the minimum electronically pre-round on patients. Students are expected to write notes on this rotation, though some services will de-emphasize this aspect to allow greater time spent in direct patient care. 

What does “Call” mean on this particular clerkship?

Students are expected to report to the Emergency room and work with the on-call resident in evaluating patients and providing cross coverage for all Northwestern Memorial Hospital psychiatric services. 

What do I do if I have a question about my clerkship grade?

If you have a question about your clerkships grade you should discuss this directly with the clerkship director.  

What do I do if I have experienced or witnessed Student Mistreatment during this clerkship?

If you have experienced or witnessed student mistreatment, there are many avenues to report this.  You can discuss this with the clerkships director, mentor, any of the deans or Lisa Rone, MD, the ombudsperson

What do I do if I feel burnt out or overwhelmed during this clerkship?

If you feel burnt out or overwhelmed during a clerkship there are a number of people you can speak with. The clerkship director, your mentor or anyone in the dean’s office are available to talk. CAPS can also be extremely helpful in this situation. You can contact CAPS at 847-491-2151.

Who do I contact if I am sick or have a personal appointment?

It is best to contact multiple individuals including your primary attending, resident/fellow, Clerkship Coordinator, and Clerkship Director so that all are aware of your absence. 

Any required equipment?


  Policies & Procedures


Cara Angelotta, MD  

Guarava Agarwal, MD
Associate Director

Elijah Horton