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There is a shortage of psychiatrists worldwide. Within Europe, psychiatric trainees can move between countries, which increases the problem in some countries and alleviates it in others. However, little is known about the reasons psychiatric trainees move to another country.
Survey of psychiatric trainees in 33 European countries, exploring how frequently psychiatric trainees have migrated or want to migrate, their reasons to stay and leave the country, and the countries where they come from and where they move to. A 61-item self-report questionnaire was developed, covering questions about their demographics, experiences of short-term mobility (from 3 months up to 1 year), experiences of long-term migration (of more than 1 year) and their attitudes towards migration.
A total of 2281 psychiatric trainees in Europe participated in the survey, of which 72.0% have ‘ever’ considered to move to a different country in their future, 53.5% were considering it ‘now’, at the time of the survey, and 13.3% had already moved country. For these immigrant trainees, academic was the main reason they gave to move from their country of origin. For all trainees, the overall main reason for which they would leave was financial (34.4%), especially in those with lower (<500€) incomes (58.1%), whereas in those with higher (>2500€) incomes, personal reasons were paramount (44.5%).
A high number of psychiatric trainees considered moving to another country, and their motivation largely reflects the substantial salary differences. These findings suggest tackling financial conditions and academic opportunities.
Migration of mental health professionals is an important phenomenon influencing mental health services of host and donor countries. Data on medical migration in Europe is very limited, particularly in the field of young doctors and psychiatry. To research this hot topic, the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT) conducted the EFPT Brain Drain Survey.
To identify the impact of previous short-term mobility on international migration and to understand characteristics, patterns and reasons of migration.
In this cross-sectional European multicentre study, data were collected from 2281 psychiatric trainees across 33 countries. All participants answered to the EFPT Brain Drain Survey reporting their attitudes and experiences on migration.
Two-thirds of the trainees had not had a short-mobility experience in their lifetime, but those that went abroad were satisfied with their experiences, reporting that these influenced their attitude towards migration positively. However, the majority of the trainees had not had a migratory experience of more than 1 year. Flows showed that Switzerland and United Kingdom have the greatest number of immigrant trainees, whereas Germany and Greece have the greatest number of trainees leaving. ‘'Pull factors'’ were mostly academic and personal reasons, whereas ‘'push factors'’ were mainly: academic and financial reasons. Trainees that wanted to leave the country were significantly more dissatisfied with their income.
The majority of the trainees has considered leaving the country they currently lived in, but a lower percentage has taken steps towards migration.
Psychiatric training in the European Union is undergoing a process of harmonization of national curricula in order to establish a common postgraduate training framework. The Research Group of the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees (EFPT) is conducting a multi-national study on psychiatry education of trainees among the European countries in regard to the Union Européenne Des Médecins Spécialistes (UEMS) 2009 competencies framework.
The aims are to raise awareness on these competencies, compile data on trainees‘ experience of their training and assessment methods, opinions on level of confidence, and on relevance of these competencies.
This study surveyed trainees from 15 EFPT countries using a questionnaire developed specifically for this research.
Psychiatric training in Europe differs significantly regarding length, with a training duration ranging from 4 to 8 years. Only 26,7% of the trainees were well acquainted with the UEMS competencies and trainees from only 8 countries declared to have a competency based national training curriculum. These results reveal that trainees have different experiences and opinions on competencies and assessment methods depending on their country of residence.
A limitation of the results may be that our respondents are the EFPT representatives’ and probably have better knowledge on the educational issues.
The combined quantitative and qualitative outlook on national training programmes from the trainees point of view enhances our understanding and perspective of the dynamic processes of psychiatric education in Europe. Data obtained from this research study contributes to the efforts to unify psychiatric training curricula.
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