Publish date: 30 August 2023

In any given year Mersey Care takes up to 800 medical students on placement. Medical student undergraduate training normally lasts five years before students leave medical school and enter a two year programme working as a foundation doctor. After foundation, the specialty training to become a consultant psychiatrist will take a minimum of six years!!

Mersey Care takes students from the University of Liverpool Medical School in years four and five and Edge Hill University Medical School in years one to four. Each year group needs to see, experience and learn from different aspects of the services they are placed with. Their progress is recorded in an eportfolio which is monitored regularly by an educational supervisor who keeps an oversight of their achievement of the set learning outcomes. 

The placements are complex and multi-faceted and involve a lot of hard work by our clinicians to ensure the medical students come away having developed a good grasp of the specialty and hopefully enthused to pursue an interest in mental health in their careers.

As an example of what goes into a placement, let’s look at our year four medical students from the University of Liverpool. Their placements with us involve lectures provided by our clinicians covering: subspecialties, self-harm and suicide, Mental Health Act, Mental Capacity Act, substance misuse and psychotherapy. They also cover clinical topics such as history taking, risk assessment and safe prescribing. Students spend time on general adult or older adult wards meeting and interviewing patients, presenting cases to clinicians, attending ward rounds and seeing how the patients are supported to recover. They also attend clinics and multidisciplinary team meetings in both a community mental health team and an older people’s community team.

While the year four students are on placement, Mersey Care also offers a wide range of teaching over and above the mandatory experiences detailed above. Our clinicians go out of their way to provide excellent bedside teaching and we are lucky to have such committed trainers.

Alongside the clinical teaching and experiences, we also offer Balint groups for students. These groups aim to improve the student’s ability to actively process and deliver relationship centred care. Through the group students develop a deeper understanding of how they’re affected by the emotional content of caring for certain patients, learning to reflect constructively with colleagues to understand human interactions, a skill which will stand them in good stead for their future careers.  

The fourth year placement will expand further from September 2023, with Children and Mental Health Service (CAMHS) also being brought into the four week psychiatry placement, rather than being incorporated within the paediatrics rotation, so the fourth years will be kept very busy while on placement with us!

Many thanks from all in the Medical Education Team to everyone who contributes to welcoming, supporting and training our medical students. If you’d like further information, please contact the team via