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Medical students are susceptible to the public image of psychiatry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Christopher W. Rusius*
Affiliation:
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Becton Centre, Sheffield, UK, email: chris.rusius@shsc.nhs.uk
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Abstract

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Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
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.
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Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2013

Mukherjee et al Reference Mukherjee, Maier and Wessely1 identify several important factors which discourage young doctors from choosing to train as psychiatrists. Stigma, low-quality undergraduate training and a perception that the specialty is unscientific probably all play a part. However, I contend that these factors are likely to have been influencing these doctors for many years. Why a recruitment crisis now?

I disagree that the recent reduction in the number of training posts in academic psychiatry is an important influence on most doctors’ career choice. However, I agree that the lack of psychiatry F2 posts and the introduction of Modernising Medical Careers have probably been influential.

Sadly, the most important influence is the paucity of consultant psychiatrists who act as good role models. Medical students and junior doctors notice the absence of enthusiastic senior colleagues. I agree that New Ways of Working has undermined consultant morale, probably to a significant extent, but the most important issue is the stress caused by the culture of repeated inquiries, which follow untoward incidents. Most other medical specialties are not subject to the same intensive ‘blame culture’. The recruitment crisis will continue until this issue is addressed.

References

1 Mukherjee, K, Maier, M, Wessely, S. UK crisis in recruitment into psychiatric training. Psychiatrist 2013; 37: 210–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
2 Sartorius, N, Gabel, W, Cleveland, HR, Stuart, H, Akiyama, T, Arboleda-Flórez, J, et al. WPA guidance on how to combat stigmatization of psychiatry and psychiatrists. World Psychiatry 2010; 9: 131–44.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
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