Psychiatrists have a role in teaching all medical undergraduates and foundation year doctors generic skills to become good doctors, but they also have to appeal to and nurture the interests of future psychiatrists by maintaining core psychiatric skills/knowledge in their teaching. They must tackle poor recruitment to psychiatry and stigma against both the profession and its patients. Medical students and junior doctors tend to be strategic learners, motivated by passing assessments, and psychiatrists are often guilty of gearing their teaching only to this. This article explores the assessment process itself and ways to optimise it, and presents a case for going beyond teaching how to pass exams in order to address wider issues relating to psychiatry.
• Identify the extent of current problems of recruitment and stigma in psychiatry and recognise the role of psychiatrists in addressing these through teaching
• Be aware of the impact and limitations of tailoring teaching to assessment only
• Identify ways of improving your own practice, taking account of the literature and strategies suggested