Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychiatry

UM LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course



DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION This unit will provide learning in Psychiatry in relation to Medicine, provided through lectures, tutorials, clinical demonstrations, clinical attachments and the visiting of related venues and services.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit introduces the student to psychiatric disorder and the different environments in which psychiatric and psychosocial disorders are dealt with. It will also teach students on the assessment and management of psychiatric and psychological disorder in all their manifestations including holistic care in all patients across health & social care.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Recognise the psychiatric and psychological needs and factors that may often exist in one’s general patients and give these importance comparable to other medical problems;
- Identify the biological, psychological and social aetiological factors operating in all patients one encounters (with specific emphasis on the psychological and social aetiological factors);
- Recognise the importance of the family and the wider environment of the patient, the impact of psychiatric disorder on them and their role in the development and maintenance of the person’s conditions, recovery and quality of life;
- Interpret the findings from the history, physical and mental state examination;
- Treat common psychiatric disorder;
- Recognise when and how to refer for further specialist help;
- Evaluate patients at risk of self harm and harm to others and take appropriate action;
- Discuss the range, skills and function of related professionals and agencies that contribute to multidisciplinary teams and networks;
- Describe the value of the developmental approach to clinical problems with reference to the stages in the life cycle where the person is affected by his or her disorder and the longitudinal perspective of illness;
- Recognise the importance of the promotion of mental health and the prevention of psychiatric disorders with reference also to early intervention, integration, avoidance of handicap and empowerment;
- Recognise what cannot be missed in a psychiatric history and mental state examination (particularly, states of altered mood, anxiety, risk to self or others and cognitive change);
- Discuss issues of human rights in relation to the care of persons with mental illness and with particular reference to the Maltese Mental Health Act;
- Describe methods of acute involuntary admission, with use of the Mental Health Act.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Demonstrate the ability to interview and examine all patients (not just psychiatric patients) in a manner that addresses both their physical and psychological needs;
- Possess the necessary skills to recognise the presence of psychiatric morbidity and co-morbidity in their patients;
- Analyse the patient’s problems and formulate with him or her plans for investigation and management in all disorders at the appropriate clinical level;
- Recognise the presence of disability and handicap and develop the skills to support and empower;
- Work constructively with other health professionals;
- Tolerate uncertainty;
- Show capacity for critical thinking and constructive self-criticism;
- Be non-judgemental in one’s attitude, assessment and approach and be able to avoid the trap of dismissing patients or their problems on the basis of psychiatric, psychological and social factors;
- Respect patients and understand their feelings;
- Recognise the necessity of good doctor-patient relationships;
- Recognise that a blend of scientific and humanitarian approaches is required, involving a critical approach to learning, open-mindedness, compassion, and concern for the dignity of the patient and, where relevant, of the patient’s family;
- Demonstrate tolerance for the view of others;
- Recognise that the profession of medicine requires lifelong learning;
- Assess and manage the person who harms or is at risk of harming him or herself;
- Evaluate and manage the potentially aggressive patient;
- Assess and manage Acute Organic Brain syndrome;
- Assess and initially manage patients with alcohol related problems;
- Safely prescribe.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Psychiatry at a Glance – 2008 4th Edition Cornelius Katona Claudia Cooper and Mary Robertson. Blackwell Science Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-4051-8117-4.
- Psychiatry, Oxford Core Texts 3rd Edition 2005, Michael Gelder, Richard Mayou and John Geddes. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-852863-9.
- ABC of Mental Health BMJ, 2nd Edition, 2009, Ed Teifion Davies , Tom Craig, BMJ Books, ISBN: 978-0-7279-1639-6.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Please note that a pass in the Examination component is obligatory for an overall pass mark to be awarded.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Placement

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Logbook SEM1 Yes 10%
Oral Examination SEM1 Yes 20%
Examination [See Add. Notes] (3 Hours) SEM1 Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Claire Axiak
Marija Axiak
Chantelle Azzopardi
Lorraine Azzopardi
Maria Bezzina Xuereb
Aloisia Camilleri
Nigel Camilleri
David Cassar (Co-ord.)
Joseph Cassar
Anthony Dimech
Ethel Felice
Jean Pierre Giorgio
Anton Grech
David Mamo
Beppe Micallef Trigona
John Mifsud
Joseph Spiteri
Rachel Taylor East
Anna Maria Vella
Joseph Vella Baldacchino


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2022/3. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.