Psychiatry recruitment is currently insufficient to meet the targeted mental health service needs in the UK. Psychiatry is unpopular amongst medical students and in 2011, only 61% of junior training posts were filled by the first recruitment. RCPsych is currently working to promote psychiatry as a career choice for medical students.
To compare preclinical and clinical medical students’ attitudes towards psychiatry as a career choice.
A cross-sectional survey of 212 clinical students (CS) and pre-clinical students (PS) at Newcastle University. Each student responded anonymously to an electronic questionnaire. The responses take the form of: Yes/No, free text, order of preference, and Likert scale. Results were analysed based on basic statistical analysis.
A total of 29% PS rated psychiatry in their top 3 career choices compared with 16% CS. Fifty-seven percent PS believe that psychiatry is a respected branch of medicine and 70% believes it makes good use of medical training, while CS rated these at 50% and 52% respectively. Sixty-nine percent PS believe that psychiatry is scientific evidence based compared with 63% CS. Eighty-one percent PS disagreed with the statement that they feel negative about psychiatry compared with 61% CS.
The outcome shows increase in negative attitude to psychiatry between pre-clinical and clinical years at the medical school. This makes psychiatry an unpopular speciality among final year students. Further research is required to ascertain the reason for this decline in interest and negative attitude.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.