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Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees?

  • Andre Strydom (a1) and Nicola Higgins (a2)

Abstract

Aims

To explore psychiatric trainees' (senior house officers') experience of a dedicated 6-month research post.

Method

A questionnaire survey was conducted by post or e-mail of all previous post-holders of two research posts in a large London training rotation.

Results and Clinical Implications

Twenty of the 28 post-holders completed the questionnaire. Overall, their experiences were positive in terms of research experience, exposure to academic environment and in facilitating future career opportunities. A minority of respondents found supervision to be unsatisfactory. Dedicated research posts are a valuable training opportunity that can complement clinical experience for trainees and foster an interest in research.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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Allsop, L., Allen, R., Fowler, L., et al (2002) Research in psychiatric higher specialist training: a survey of specialist registrars. Psychiatric Bulletin, 26, 272274.
Cullen, S. (2002) The way I see it: The value of research in the specialist registrar training programme. BMJ (Careers), 325, S103.
Hull, A. & Guthrie, M. (2000) Fulltime research placements as a higher trainee. BMJ (Careers), 320, S27249.
Katona, C. & Robertson, M. (1993) Who makes it in psychiatry: CV predictors of success in training grades. Psychiatric Bulletin, 17, 2729.
Lambert, M.T. & Garver, D. L. (1998) Mentoring Psychiatric Trainees' First Paper for Publication. Academic Psychiatry, 22, 4755.
Sembhi, S. & Livingston, G. (2000) What trainees and trainers think about supervision. Psychiatric Bulletin, 24, 376379.
Stewart, P. M. (2002) Academic medicine: a faltering engine. BMJ, 324, 437438.
Vassilas, C., Tadros, G. & Day, E. (2002) The research day: a suitable case for treatment? Psychiatric Bulletin, 26, 313314.

Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees?

  • Andre Strydom (a1) and Nicola Higgins (a2)

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Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees?

  • Andre Strydom (a1) and Nicola Higgins (a2)
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eLetters

Research as a SHO- An exciting career focus

Partha Gangopadhyay, Senior House Officer
19 July 2005

The article by Strydom et al, 'Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees?' (Psychiatric Bulletin, 28, 260-263) retains its topical significance probably in enhanced proportions even after a year. One of the most restricting abilities in endeavours to pursue research is inadequate training in research methodology i.e. statistical knowledge, literature search skills, writing protocols and an academic environment. Abusy psychiatric senior house officer placement offers minimal opportunityto acquire these skills or even to further the potential that one might have as a young research enthusiast.

The great advantage of such posts lies in the ability on deciding about one’s aptitude thus facilitating more appropriate career moves i.e. whether to consider an academic post or be involved with greater clinical responsibilities. This will also benefit service users of mental health services as providing a professional with the most suitable working environment is the primary requisite for extracting his optimal performance. While higher specialist training in psychiatry does provide this scope for considering individual preferences, nothing can be more welcome for a young interested trainee than to have the chance of getting familiar with the intricacies of research earlier in their training period.

There are a number of criteria, which need to be satisfied for the completion of basic specialist training. Undertaking research is not an essential requisite but very often it becomes the deciding factor for smooth transition into higher specialist training. In this context thetraining schemes must take an added initiative in the creation as well as continuation of dedicated research posts in SHO training.

References:

Strydom, A. & Higgins, N. (2004) Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees? Psychiatric Bulletin, 28, 260-263

(Word Count- 258)

Declaration of Interest- None
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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The value of a dedicated senior house officer research post in Leeds

Nuwan Galappathie, Senior House Officer in Adult Psychiatry
14 July 2005

I read with interest the outstanding career progression of the twentytrainees who undertook a dedicated senior house officer research post within the North London Rotational Scheme in Psychiatry (Strydom & Higgins, 2004).

I am able to share my own successful experiences of undertaking a similar post on the Leeds, Wakefield and Pontefract Training Scheme. During this post I was based at the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group. I developed my research skills, formally lectured medical students, undertook two Cochrane reviews and above all developed an enthusiasm for teaching and academic work. The undertaking of such work would have otherwise simply not been possible in a busy inner city placement.

I have little doubt that this post and its professorial reference helped me obtain a specialist registrar post within weeks of passing my membership exams.

It is now with great disappointment that this academic post is not offered for the next six month posting on the rotation. Service modernization and the removal of clinical sessions attached to the post appear to be the main contributors to its demise. In my opinion this is truly a great loss and highlights the need for training schemes to do all in their power to protect and nurture their most prized research posts.

References:

Strydom, A. & Higgins, N. (2004) Are dedicated research posts of value to psychiatry trainees? Psychiatric Bulletin, 28, 260-263.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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