skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Quillen College of Medicine

Medical Students

Welcome to the Psychiatry Clerkship!

Welcome to the Junior Psychiatry Clerkship! This rotation in psychiatry actively involves the student in a variety of psychiatric services and provides a general overview to the experiences and knowledge that will form the basis for your clinical skills in psychiatric diagnosis and therapeutics.  We hope you will enjoy the time you share with us, learn a lot, and develop a better appreciation for the impact of mental illness (those with mental illnesses are a medically undeserved population) on patient health, need for medical care and quality of life.  That appreciation can inform and improve the care you provide to all patients, regardless of your specialty. 



Psychiatry Clerkship Director | Martha Bird, M.D.                                                                          Department of Psychiatry, Quillen College of Medicine, ETSU                                                      Dr. Bird Email |      Phone | 439-2207

Assistant Psychiatry Clerkship Director | Traci Carroll, M.D.                                                      Mountain Home VA Medical Center (VAMC)                                                                                       Dr. Carroll Email |      Phone | 926-1171, Ext. 7122

Psychiatry Clerkship Coordinator | Wanda B. Young                                                            Department of Psychiatry, Quillen College of Medicine, ETSU                                                        Wanda Email |      Phone | 439-2244

Psychiatry Education Secretary II | Nellie Kate Birch                                                                    Department of Psychiatry, Quillen College of Medicine, ETSU                                                      Nellie Kate Email |      Phone | 439-2223


Introduction and Overview 

During the clerkship, the student will be exposed to various inpatient settings, a consultation-liaison psychiatric service, and provisionally an outpatient opioid treatment program.  The rotation sites provided are at Woodridge Psychiatric Hospital (Spruce and Willow Units) Veterans Affairs Medical Center (E2 and Consultation-Liaison) , and potentially, (affiliation agreement being negotiated) at Overmountain Recovery, (an outpatient opioid treatment program that provides methadone, individual and group psychotherapy). 



This course is designed to teach third year medical students the importance of assessing for, diagnosing and treating, or referring for treatment, patients with mental illness. Students will learn to perform a complete psychiatric interview including the Mental Status Examination. The diagnostic criteria of the major mental illnesses contained in the DSM-5 will be reviewed and explained, and students will be able to observe and or work with individuals experiencing a wide array of these illnesses. First line treatments for each of the classes of major mental illnesses will be reviewed and students will get the opportunity to see the effects of treatment implementation. The curriculum and clerkship experiences incorporate the biopsychosocial model as a philosophy of clinical care and as a useful clinical guide. This aids the student in understanding how suffering and illness are affected at multiple levels, is a way to understand the importance of the patient’s subjective experience in diagnosis and treatment outcome and can be useful in fostering the therapeutic alliance. 



  1. Engage with a patient and establish and maintain rapport including demonstrating the use of cognitive empathy, respect, sensitivity to the developmental level of the patient, cultural awareness, recognition of the social determinants of health, and seeking to understand the conceptual context of the illness. 
  2. Conduct a psychiatric diagnostic workup in an organized prioritized manner.  This should include: acquiring and organizing the psychiatric history; performing the Mental Status Examination; assessing pertinent features of the physical exam; developing a differential diagnosis; determining need for further diagnostic studies; developing an initial plan of care (including discharge planning from the time of admission); and, documenting this in a written report.
  3. Describe and employ DSM-5 criteria for the diagnosis of patients in the context of complex clinical presentations while taking into account the clinical history, life stressors, challenging psychosocial situations, and patient personality variables.
  4. Explain the range of psychiatric interventional therapeutics for various treatment options: psychopharmacologic agents, electroconvulsive therapies, psychotherapies (including fundamentals of psychodynamic, behavioral and cognitive approaches) and psychosocial interventions.
  5. Identify psychiatric emergencies in the clinical setting and describe appropriate interventions for same.
  6. Use an electronic medical record (EMR) in the care of assigned patients.
  7. Demonstrate the oral communication skills and the ability to work effectively with colleagues and other health professionals in clinical care settings. This includes being respectful, honest, and recognizing one’s role, expertise and personal limits as an individual provider on the team.
  8. Demonstrate and discuss appropriate boundaries in the physician/patient relationship.
  9. Demonstrate concern for patient privacy and confidentiality, identify clinical situations where confidentiality may be breached and discuss appropriate strategies to deal with these situations.
  10. Identify and discuss gaps in one’s own medical knowledge, clinical skills (including communication skills), and professional behavior (including personal accountability and identification of professional mistakes) and develop a plan to address these issues.
  11. Learn how and be able to perform a search of the primary literature for best evidence utilizing Pub Med, and based on that search, deliver a student presentation on a psychiatrically oriented topic.


Contact Number for Hospitals                                

JCMCH                        Ms. Tawana Holland                    431-6431                                                                VAMC                          Ward E2                                       926-1171, Ext. 2786                                            Academic Affairs         Ms. Cathy Peeples                       439-6311                                                              Clerkship Office           Ms. Wanda B. Young                   439-2244






icon for left menu icon for right menu