This questionnaire study aimed to investigate the reasons for choosing to specialise in psychiatry in a sample of consultant psychiatrists and core trainee psychiatrists from within the West Midlands.
Five reasons were significantly different between the core trainees and consultant psychiatrists. ‘Emphasis on the patient as a whole’ was identified as the most important reason for choosing to specialise for both core trainees and consultants. Six additional reasons were shared within the top ten ‘very important’ reasons, although their actual ranking varies.
Some of the reasons for choosing to specialise in psychiatry were shown to significantly differ between core trainees and consultants. Numerous key driving factors have remained important over time for both groups, whereas other reasons have been replaced with a shift of importance towards lifestyle and humanitarian factors for core trainees. Consequently, it may be advisable not to use the reasons that consultants gave for choosing psychiatry when thinking about how to attract today's prospective psychiatrists.