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October 1977

Is There a Stethoscope in the House (and Is It Used)?

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(10):1147-1151. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770220029002

• A survey was conducted in Rochester, NY, of the attitudes and practices of psychiatrists (both in private practice and fulltime academic settings), psychiatric residents, internists, and fourth-year medical students concerning physical examinations of psychiatric patients. Thirteen percent of the psychiatrists frequently perform an initial physical examination on their inpatients and 8% frequently do an initial physical examination on their outpatients. These percentages are much larger for the resident groups. A very high percentage of all respondents report that they feel a physical examination of psychiatric patients is important especially when the patient is receiving medication. The largest number of psychiatrists report that they omit the physical examination because the patient has been referred to them after a physical examination by another physician or they refer the patient for such an examination. A notable percentage of psychiatrists in this sample report that they do not feel competent performing a physical examination.