Psychiatry Training for Accident & Emergency Trainees

 On Tuesday 3rd August, the first psychiatry training day for emergency trainees was held. This was introduced and organised by Dr Emma Saliba (HST Psychiatry) under the kind supervision of Dr Maria Bezzina Xuereb (Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist), together with the Emergency Faculty (Dr Mary Rose Cassar, Dr Patrick Farrugia, Dr Anna Spiteri and Dr Agnes Portelli (Consultant Emergency Physicians).

This CME-accredited training was approved by the Maltese Association of Psychiatry (MAP), the Association of Emergency Physicians (AEPM) as well as the psychiatry and emergency training committees.

It aimed to:

  • Strengthen the skills of Emergency trainees in assessing and managing psychiatric patients presenting at the Emergency Department. It highlighted common psychiatric presentations in Emergency, including psychosis, mania and depression.
  • Facilitate formulation of a holistic multidisciplinary care plan for patients with acute psychiatric presentations.
  • Enhance the inter-departmental relationship between psychiatry and emergency.

A total of 13 emergency trainees registered for the training. Training was in the format of interactive scenarios. Psychiatric trainees role played patients presenting to the Emergency Department. The emergency trainee was invited to engage with the psychiatric trainee in the role play. The interaction was observed and assessed by a psychiatric consultant or resident specialist, together with an emergency consultant or resident specialist. Following each scenario, time was allocated for discussion and feedback.

Prior to the training, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire, designed by Dr Emma Saliba and Dr Maria Bezzina Xuereb. This collected both qualitative and quantitative data with regards to the impact of the pandemic and the management of common psychiatric scenarios in Emergency. In addition, emergency trainees were provided with pre-training reading material. This comprised information on the symptomatology and management of depression, substance use disorder, psychosis and risk assessment for suicide and self-harm behaviour.

Following this training, emergency trainees were provided with a comprehensive list of government psychiatric services available. This contained the address, contact person and a phone number for each service. This was circulated within the emergency and psychiatric departments.

Finally, certificates were distributed to all participants. Feedback was very positive, with the training being described as excellent, informative and highly recommended. We hope this paves the way for future inter-departmental training collaborations within our health services.

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