Information for Sixth Formers
What do psychiatrists do?
Psychiatrists are doctors who look after
patients with mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety,
personality disorders, learning disabilities and schizophrenia.
Management of these disorders involves a combination of measures,
such as drugs, psychological counselling, improving home
environments and social networks. Therefore, treatment of patients
with mental health problems depends on a wide range of
professionals, including clinical psychologists, social workers,
psychiatric nurses, and occupational therapists. The psychiatrist
needs to work together with these professionals as part of a
How do I become a psychiatrist?
All psychiatrists are qualified doctors, so
first you must first gain a place at medical school.
Academically, you will need good passes in 3 A
Levels, at least one of which must be a science subject (chemistry
is compulsory at some medical schools). There is a lot of
competition for places at medical school. Successful candidates
- Good academic
- Enthusiasm with good
- A wide range of outside
- Some interest in a caring
You will find general information and advice
on becoming a doctor, as well as a list of medical schools, on the
Medical Association website.
What makes psychiatry special?
As a doctor specialising in this area, you
really could make a difference to someone’s life, and help them
regain their self-respect and happiness. Psychiatry is an excellent
career choice for anyone interested in how the mind works, and
someone who enjoys working as part of a team. There is real variety
in psychiatry. Every day can be different and every person you see
will be unique. Psychiatrists work across a person’s lifespan, from
childhood to old age.
What is the difference between Psychology and Psychiatry?
Psychiatrists, psychologists and
psychotherapists are professionally trained people who see and help
those suffering from psychological problems. The main difference is
that psychiatrists are all medically qualified doctors, and as
doctors can prescribe medication. Psychologists are non-medically
trained professionals who are primarily concerned with how people
think, act, react and interact.
Work experience in Psychiatry
Work experience is a great way to improve your
knowledge and understanding of psychiatry and also:
- Gives you the opportunity to develop skills and qualities which
are needed to become a psychiatrist e.g. communication, teamwork
and problem solving.
- Provides solid experience to offer on application forms and
interviews and helps improve prospects for entry to higher
- Increases self-understanding, maturity, independence and
self-confidence, especially in the workplace.
- Improves the understanding of the work environment and
There are many hospitals throughout the UK
which offer work experience to Year 10/11 students, sixth formers
and medical students. The Royal College of Psychiatrists is not
responsible for organising work placements so please
contact your local hospital or
mental health trust directly for further information.
Summer School for Sixth Formers
This will be updated once we have information
regarding current Summer Schools for Sixth Formers.
all about Bristol's 2014 Summer School here.
If you would like any further information regarding a career in
psychiatry please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org