Over the years, practice of psychiatry has changed. Apart from different kinds of treatment for psychological disorders, advances have been made in understanding psychiatry.

The National Institute and Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the two premier institutes involved in psychiatry, have come together to work out ways of bringing changes in the process of training and assessment of next generation of psychiatrists.

“Both of us have been in the field of psychiatry for long, which has undergone drastic changes. We are sharing the best practices. Efforts will be made to adapt and adopt them in our present process,” Santosh Kumar Chaturvedi, professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, told The Hindu.

“It is an effort to have better training and assessment of next generation of psychiatrists,” Dinesh Bhugra, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said.

To start with, NIMRCPSYCON 2010, a two-day conference to discuss issues related to psychiatry commenced here on Saturday. Apart from analysing the present training modules for postgraduates in psychiatry, it will stress the need for being culturally sensitive in understanding mental disorders. It will also delve into the tools used for assessment. Speaking on the challenges of making psychiatric training meaningful for trainees, Prabha S. Chandra, NIMHANS professor, elaborated on the training modules and assessment methods adopted at NIMHANS. Consulting psychiatrist Amit Malik, former training policy adviser to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, spoke about the changes being brought in U.K. postgraduate training in the past four years. He also spoke about workplace-based assessment, a pilot project, for assessing trainees in real-time situation.

NIMHANS alumni Albert Michael, Director of Medical Education Chair, Drugs and Therapeutics Committee, Suffolk Mental Health, said that a real assessment of a trainee could be made by simultaneously using the two tools – the objective structure clinical examination and the long case presentation.