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New Faculty Orientation

Welcome to the Department of Psychiatry!

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Psychiatry Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) at Queen’s University

Directors of Undergraduate Education (Psychiatry):

Pre-Clerkship - Dr. Nisha Wijeratne (

Clerkship - Dr. Debra Hamer (

Education coordinator - Ms. Sharon Thompson (


Overview of Program

Psychiatry teaching spans all four years of the Queen’s undergraduate medical curriculum. The overall aim is to develop competence in the diagnosis of common psychiatric illness, biopsychosocial treatment and to recognize the role of the multidisciplinary team in the provision of care for psychiatric illness. 

1. Preclerkship Curriculum (Year 1 and 2)

Year 1 involves a brief encounter with psychiatry when the psychiatric history is presented and demonstrated as well as an introduction to two common presentations (anxiety and depression).

Year 2 expands on this. The Term 4 Psychiatry course combines pre-class directed preparation, selected lectures with opportunities for knowledge application in small group learning (large classroom), facilitated small group learning (small classroom) as well as expanded clinical skills sessions.

Opportunities for New Faculty in Year 1 and 2: 

  • Supervise medical students in full day/half day Observerships
    • An Observership is an opportunity for all students in Year 1 and 2 to “test the waters” in psychiatry and spend either a full or half day observing a psychiatrist at work.
    • The goal is to improve awareness of Psychiatry and provide an opportunity to experience the practice of psychiatry in either a hospital or clinic setting.
    • Students contact you directly to arrange for these opportunities
    • Considered a “deliverable” task
    • Provide classroom based teaching – opportunities for large group or small group learning on a variety of core subjects
    • Develop online/self-directed learning material
    • Supervision of research and critical inquiry projects 


2. Clerkship Curriculum (Year 3 and 4)

The core clerkship in psychiatry is a comprehensive six week rotation with a mix of seminars and clinical teaching.   

Students are placed either in Kingston or at regional centres (Brockville, Markham or Oshawa).  Those placed in Kingston are assigned to two 3 week blocks, where they get exposure to different supervisors and areas of interest in psychiatry.  Medical students interested in subspecialty areas such as Child and Adolescent or Geriatrics can request half of their rotation to be done in a subspecialty of their choosing. 

Seminars are presented on Monday afternoons each week, and combine didactic and case-based learning on a variety of topics in a small group setting. 

Opportunities for New Faculty in Year 3 and 4: 

  • Supervision of clinical clerks during their six week core rotations or elective rotations in psychiatry
    • Core supervision in Kingston occurs in 3 week blocks
    • Possible to supervise a clerk for a minimum of 1 day per week, but ideally supervision would occur consistently over the 5 day week
    • Elective students are assigned to supervision based on a centralized request system
    • Providing case-based teaching for the Monday afternoon seminars (1.5h commitment every 6 weeks)
    • Supervision of research
    • Opportunities for development of online/self-directed learning material 


Interested in Getting Involved in UGME? 

  • Medical Education is a core deliverable for all faculty in psychiatry at Queen’s University.
  • There is always interest in hearing new ideas or approaches to teaching this material – we welcome your insights and expertise!
  • If interested in teaching opportunities, please contact for preclerkship, Dr. Wijeratne ( or for clerkship, Dr. Hamer (
  • If interested in providing supervision to either core or elective students – contact Sharon Thompson (

Postgraduate Medical Education


We are transitioning to a Competence-Based Medical Education (CMBE) model for postgraduate education (residency) at Queen’s. As of July 1, 2019, PGYs 1 – 4 will be using this model. 

Faculty development in CBME includes CBME Grand Rounds each June, as well as brief videos and other tips sent via email, which we’d encourage you to open and view. We’d encourage you to view past videos at

Briefly, CBME means that residents will be triggering frequent brief assessments for faculty to complete at the point of patient encounters rather than simply getting assessed at the end of a rotation using a “report card” (traditionally called an ITER). The new brief assessment forms can be completed on a mobile device using a PIN or can be sent to your email account. They are easy and quick to complete, and should help the resident improve rather than simply summarizing their rotation like a traditional ITER used to.

Teaching Opportunities

  1. Supervising residents in your clinic or inpatient unit. Having residents participate in your day-to-day clinical practice can be satisfying. Responsibility and expectations should be tailored to the resident’s education level. Please familiarize yourself with the Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs), which are the objectives that are specific to each residency level. These are the skills and attitudes the resident needs to gain competence in. Also, the resident may bring a “Learning Plan” to the rotation. This is simply some specifics that he/she needs to focus on.
  2. Facilitating a resident’s journal club presentation. Journal Club happens monthly. When a resident chooses an article to present and appraise, she/he will usually approach a faculty member with an interest in the article’s topic to support and guide them. This includes attending the lunchtime journal club.
  3. Academic Half-Day Teaching. The residents have a protected academic half-day each Wednesday afternoon. Drs. Wijeratne and Hussain organize the teaching schedule. This is not usually didactic lecturing but is a “Problem-Based Curriculum” with a lot of participation from the residents present. Faculty still takes a major role in organizing and running these sessions that ultimately cover the whole postgraduate psychiatry curriculum. Tips on how to use the problem-based model are available from the organizers. Interviewing skills and OSCE practice are also scheduled during the academic half-days. Faculty facilitates these as well.
  4. Psychotherapy Supervision. Dr. Margo Rivera is the Director of Psychotherapy. We have a list of faculty who supervise individual residents in various modalities – CBT, IPT, psychodynamic, etc. Supervision includes assessing a patient’s suitability with the resident as well as reviewing recordings or notes of sessions with the resident regularly. If you have expertise in one or more modalities, please contact Dr. Rivera.
  5. Supervising Research. Dr. Dianne Groll is the Director of Research. Residents interested in research may choose to be in a stream where multiple projects are possible. Residents who don’t necessarily picture an academic career may choose the less research-intensive stream, but still learn critical appraisal skills and do a smaller project. All residents benefit from guidance and supervisions from individual faculty members as they formulate questions, prepare literature reviews, and organize papers and posters.


Directors of Postgraduate Education (Psychiatry):

Dr. Johanne Roberge
Dr. Eric Prost

Coordinator: Ms. Sharon Thompson