Psychiatrists are experts in mental health, diagnosing and treating people with mental illness. As a psychiatrist you will have a deep understanding of physical and mental health and the interaction between the two. Psychiatrists help people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addiction. You will provide pharmacological treatment, psychological treatment and perform procedures, such as electroconvulsive therapy. [i]
Psychiatrists work in public and private hospitals, community mental health services and in private consulting rooms. Psychiatrists are also involved in research, providing advice in legal matters, and teaching and advocacy work.
FULL PANEL RECORDING
As a psychiatrist you will need to have:
- Empathy and compassion and the ability to treat others with understanding and respect
- Emotional resilience and an interest in working in challenging situations
- Involvement in multidisciplinary teams
- Good problem-solving skills, using logical/lateral thinking
- An analytical and scientific approach
- Ability to manage conflict and opposing views from patients, families and staff
- Advanced communication skills.
As a psychiatrist a lot of what you’ll do is the containment of both patient and staff anxiety whether this is de-escalating an agitated patient or containing staff anxiety on the medical wards. To do this well you need to be able to self-reflect and know what’s going on for you in that moment. It can be very emotionally draining when you’re dealing with an agitated or aggressive patient.
Psychiatry is a fascinating career – there’s so much complexity and every patient is unique and has something different to offer the psychiatrist. the work life balance is great and is one of the few specialties where you’re actively encouraged to have interests outside of psychiatry.
What is the best way to prepare for psychiatry training?
What's good to know prior to commencing training?
What is enjoyable about psychiatry training?
Getting experience in psychiatry prior to joining the training program will be very beneficial. You can get this experience through an intern or resident rotation or later in your career as a service registrar. In addition, it’s worthwhile to speak with consultant psychiatrists to find out what it’s like working as a consultant.
It’s a competitive process to get into psychiatry training. On average over the last few years there have been approximately 50 applicants for 20 positions. It’s possible to apply for psychiatry training after your intern year but given it’s a competitive process it’s more common for people to commence their training in PGY3. It’s helpful to have an extra year of medical experience and to have spent some time working as a service registrar in psychiatry.
The amount of afterhours work you might need to do during the training program depends on the training rotation that you’re doing. This means you get exposure to different areas of psychiatry, but the service requirements will change based on where you’re working. For example, working in the acute adult in-patient setting you will have a lot of on call or after hours, but other rotations will have minimal or none.
During the training program there are a few exams to complete including a multiple choice, some written exams and an OSCE which is typically done towards the end of the fourth of fifth year of the program.
Most of your training will be done in Perth and there’s no requirements to do any rural or remote training however there are rural terms available in areas ranging from Broome to Albany. There’s also an opportunity to do a rural training program called the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) which is a program where you do three years in a rural area. For additional information on this program please visit this link IRTP | RANZCP
There are also opportunities for part-time training or a break in training. It’s a very supported training program with your health and wellbeing taken into consideration.
Refer to Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatry for further information about the training program.
Is there much after hours with psychiatry training?
What exams are involved in psychiatry training?
Is it competitive to get into psychiatry training?
Common PGY level for entry into psychiatry
Where can I undertake psychiatry training?
Psychiatrists have a very diverse range of career prospects and can work in the public sector, or the private sector and can also work in consultancy roles, research, academia and medico-legal areas. Psychiatrists also can work regionally, remotely, provide telehealth services or work in metropolitan areas.
N.B. Career prospects are dependent on both the supply of specialists and the projected future demand for services provided by medical specialists (including general practitioners). The complex interplay of supply and demand is currently being modelled at both a state and national level and will be included when it's available.