A critical review of undergraduate education and teaching in forensic psychiatry

Sharda, Leila and Wright, Karen Margaret orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0693-7294 (2023) A critical review of undergraduate education and teaching in forensic psychiatry. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health . ISSN 0957-9664

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/cbm.2314


Background: Although forensic psychiatry is recognised as a full medical specialty in the UK, training in it is not routinely offered to medical students. With growth both in forensic psychiatry and availability of medical school places, it is a good time to explore the nature and quality of experience already available.
Aims: 1. To map the literature against the GREET checklist for reporting evidence-based practice educational interventions and teaching of medical students in forensic psychiatry; 2. To critically review research and scholarship; 3. To identify gaps in evidence based education for medical students in forensic psychiatry.
Method: A systematic search of three bibliographic databases from inception to December 2021 was undertaken using keywords related to medical students and forensic psychiatry between December 2021 and March 2022. The search was supplemented by citation and hand searching.
Results: Eight articles were identified. Collectively they suggest that education and teaching were implemented at a local level and not linked to theories of learning. Exposure to forensic psychiatry stimulated positive attitudes, which amplified interest in psychiatry. There was insufficient evidence to determine optimal undergraduate education and teaching practice in forensic psychiatry.
Conclusions: Forensic psychiatry appears to have much to offer the medical undergraduate as part of core learning in psychiatry, including universal skills and knowledge such as ethical decision making and handling emotions. There appears to be considerable opportunity for education, teaching and research innovation in undergraduate education and teaching in forensic psychiatry. Interesting areas for development include simulated and coproduced education.

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