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Non-graduate and graduate entry medical students attitudes to psychiatry

  • S. M. Pillay (a1), F. Sundram (a1), D. Mullins (a1), N. Rizvi (a1), T. Grant (a2), M. Boohan (a3) and K. C. Murphy (a1)...



Graduate entry medical students’ views of psychiatry may differ from those of school leavers. This study hypothesised that (i) exposure to a psychiatry attachment is associated with a positive change in attitudes towards psychiatry in both graduate entry and non-graduate entry students, (ii) graduate entry students exhibit a more positive attitude to psychiatry compared to non-graduate entry students and (iii) graduate entry students are more interested in a career in psychiatry than non-graduate entry students.


In this study 247 medical students (118 females and 129 males) completing their psychiatry rotation were invited to complete questionnaires examining career choice, attitudes to psychiatry and career attractiveness for a range of specialties including surgery, medicine, general practice and psychiatry before and after their psychiatry attachment. Questionnaires were distributed prior to commencement of their attachment and redistributed on the final day of the attachment.


Of the 165 participants in the study, 75 students entered medicine via the traditional route (without a primary degree), 49 entered via the graduate entry programme and 41 had a primary degree. Overall, medical students displayed positive attitudes towards psychiatry. However, while there was an improvement in attitudes towards psychiatry and the career attractiveness of psychiatry on completion of the rotation, no differences were found between graduate and non-graduate entry students. Psychiatry and general practice had lower ratings for career attractiveness than other specialities. No significant changes were found in the first and second choice of specialty.


Our results show that improvements in attitude and career attractiveness do not necessarily correlate with increased choice of psychiatry as a specialty. Graduate entry has been considered a possible opportunity for increasing recruitment in psychiatry but our results suggest that this may not be the case. Follow-up studies are required to determine whether career attractiveness correlates with future career choice.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr S. M. Pillay, Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. (Email


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Non-graduate and graduate entry medical students attitudes to psychiatry

  • S. M. Pillay (a1), F. Sundram (a1), D. Mullins (a1), N. Rizvi (a1), T. Grant (a2), M. Boohan (a3) and K. C. Murphy (a1)...


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