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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Welcome to Psychiatry in Practice: The Clinical Skills Series.

Students often tell us that when they are learning psychiatry in their medical school course they would really like to see experienced psychiatrists interviewing patients, taking a history and conducting a mental state examination. So with this in mind we have designed this series to help students learn some essential skills in psychiatry.

You are going to see a series of clinical scenarios in which different patients are being interviewed by psychiatrists. All of these scenarios are based upon real patients and they were put together with patient groups. The patients are played by actors, but real psychiatrists are conducting the interviews.

The interviews were not scripted in any way and the psychiatrists did not know any information about the patients they were being asked to interview. This was to give students a realistic experience of what it is like to carry out an interview when you don't know very much about the background of the patient and you have never met them before. It also means that the interviews are not perfect, in the same way that they are not perfect in real life, and that the situations are complex, raising many issues.

At the end of each scenario the psychiatrist will reflect on some key points and discuss what was going through their minds while they were conducting the interview. To get the most out of these tutorials you should try to think about how you would go about approaching each patient, what information you would need to obtain, and how you would carry out and record your mental state examination.

We hope you find the series both useful and enjoyable.

Please click the links below to begin your chosen tutorial.

Tutorials in this series:

CLINICAL SCENARIO 1: The agitated and disturbed patient

CLINICAL SCENARIO 2: Overdose assessment

CLINICAL SCENARIO 3: Patient with chest pain and anxiety


A collaboration between the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.