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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Improving recruitment in psychiatry

Improving recruitment to psychiatry concerns all of us who have an interest in the future of the profession. Turning things around requires action on many fronts, and it is certainly taking up a lot of my time. For example, I am continuing my World Tour (OK, it's only a UK tour, but World Tour sounds better) of every medical school to talk to the students/Psych Socs – if I haven’t darkened the doors of your local medical school yet, please let me know.


We are actively working to counter the various misperceptions about psychiatry that deter people from pursuing a career – such as that our patients never get better, or that psychiatry isn’t scientific. Our patients do get better, and we are as scientific as any other discipline (people confuse being technological, which generally is not a strength of psychiatry, with being scientific – they are not the same).


And I know I go on about this, but definitely don’t look away now, but the single most important thing happening, that if managed well, will indeed turn around recruitment, remains the huge changes in the Foundation Year programme, as we move from a situation in which no Foundation Year doctors do psychiatry, to one in which half will.


Anyway, here is a little aide memoire from Tom Brown, who has been flying the flag of improving recruitment for us, which lists the various things that all of us can do, wherever we are, and whatever our role in psychiatry is.


Take a read. And if you are not doingg any of these, well, you should be. There is still time to make a difference!


August 2015 

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Re: Improving recruitment in p
Modernising Medical Careers means that new graduates have to choose their favoured place (such as where their partner lives) or their favoured career. Adding psychiatry to the mix just reduces the chance of anyone opting for that as a first choice. Many psychiatric services rely on part-time doctors, but revalidation rules have made part-time practice unsustainable. 1 in 10 graduates are going abroad, and I do not blame them.
Re: Improving recruitment in p
Dear Sir. The team working style in the NHS is a big waste of time with many professionals requiring training in the latest evidence. With no focus on individualised development the burnout rates are getting phenomenal. Having been a consultant for 8 years I have had the opportunity to work with good trainers and get many residents into psychiatry. With a blocked access to medical students because of academic /service separation our impact on ypung minds is not significant and your aim of visiting medical students is not as prolific as Lord kitcheners recruitment so change the system
Re: Improving recruitment in p
I have recently undergone the CESR route and have found the experience unsatisfying. The burden of proof is extremely high and the College has a rigid adherence to the Core Curriculum. There is no consideration of previous experience (I have 12 years experience at Associate Specialist level) or expertise in areas outside the curriculum. If the College is serious about increasing reruitment it should consider a more flexible and open-minded approach to CESR applications. Given the high stress the CESR route causes I would not recommend this route to colleagues who have been working in psychiatry for several years. This a a view shared by colleagues who have undertaken the same path.
Re: Improving recruitment in p
Dear President, as a trainee and having looked into the existing evidence of current recruitment issues into psychiatry - what I realised the most detrimental factor is the quality of mentorship and individualised experiences directly influenced by our supervisors. I cannot stress enough the importance of that than all the fancy recruitment strategies established by the college in recent years. Yes, we acknowledge the effort on visiting medical schools, clearing up misconceptions, organising summer schools and other opportunities, etc - the ultimate solution would be, for us, having a supportive supervisor who makes us well informed on our career paths; who listens and actually cares. Having had first hand experience and had talks with my fellow colleagues, I greatly appreciate how much effect this has had on us. In fact this is evidence based (reference to paper with PMID: 25800705). The problem is that there are no strategies to "make a consultant/senior registrar to be nice" and I deeply believe further discussions should emphasise on the crucial factors of psychiatry mentorship. I, however, am unable to have my voice heard and I find this aspect of recruitment issue has been reprehensibly overlooked.
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