Medical students' perceptions of psychiatry as a career choice

Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Academic Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 0.81). 04/2006; 30(2):144-9. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ap.30.2.144
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study describes medical students' perceptions of the field of psychiatry and identifies the impact of those perceptions on their career choices in order to explore the questions: Are we as a field doing all that we can to enhance the educational experience of all medical students, regardless of their career preferences? What are the most appropriate ways to encourage interested medical students that would allow for more targeted recruitment efforts toward the most receptive students?
Third-year (n=131) and fourth-year medical students (n=117) at a northeastern, urban, private university medical school completed anonymous self-report questionnaires. Students rated the impact of intellectual interest, status, earning potential, healthcare reform, quality of life, satisfaction, and stress of working with psychiatric patients on their consideration of a psychiatric career. Respondents were then systematically divided into two groups: 1) those who considered psychiatry as a possible career choice and 2) those who did not.
When compared to students who had been coded as "not seriously considering" a career in psychiatry, students coded as "seriously considering" gave significantly higher positive ratings to the field's intellectual content and quality of life. There were also significant differences between the groups regarding the satisfaction involved in working with psychiatric patients. Students from both groups were equally concerned about stress levels in the field.
Acknowledging, discussing, and providing a context for stressful experiences during the psychiatry clerkship are likely to bring about productive approaches to improve recruitment into the field as well as to improve all students' psychiatric education.


Available from: Mark J Graham, Mar 02, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Aim: People with mental illness are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. The poor popularity of Psychiatry as a fi eld of specialty has been a global concern. Any preconceived notions, perceptions and formative infl uences among medical students could have strong infl uence on their future choice of career. This study aimed to determine the students' perception of Psychiatry as career choice and the factors infl uencing their perception and career choice. Subjects and Methods: Following approval from Institutional Ethics Committee and necessary permissions, consenting medical students at a private medical college in Mangalore, India were surveyed using a pilot-tested questionnaire. The responses were compiled and data analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 10. Chi-square test was performed and P < 0.05 was considered signifi cant. Results: Of the 250 participants, 152 (60.8%) were males while 96 (38.4%) were females aged 17-25 years. Only 28 (11.2%) wanted to pursue Psychiatry as a career while 97 (38.8%) considered it as an option although not their fi rst choice. There was no association between gender and completion of Psychiatry postings on the decision regarding Psychiatry as a career. However, an exposure to a mentally ill person had a statistically signifi cant association with Psychiatry as career choice (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Very few students aspire for Psychiatry. Targeted interventions including focused approach and creating an interest during undergraduate posting may inspire more students to take up Psychiatry. depression, bipolar, and mood disorders. [1,2] As per projected estimates, neuropsychiatric illnesses will rank as the fourth leading cause of disease burden in India in 2020. [3] Despite the widespread prevalence of mental illness, people with mental illness are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. The number of Psychiatrists in India is dismal and insufficient to deal with the growing burden of mental illness. [3] The poor popularity of Psychiatry as a field of specialty has been a global concern. [4] There was a steady decline reported, mainly in the USA and Canada, in the percentage of students choosing to specialize in Psychiatry. [5-8] Moreover, lately, there has been a huge demand for Psychiatrists in countries like Britain, Australia, and New
    11/2014; 2(2):238 - 42. DOI:10.4103/2321-4848.144362
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    ABSTRACT: Mental illnesses are a major public health problem around the world and the prevalence and burden of common mental disorders is growing. Psychiatry is an unpopular career choice for many medical students and this impacts negatively on the supply of psychiatrists to the workforce. The psychiatry clerkship can play an important role in influencing students' attitudes towards psychiatry, either positively or negatively. However, stigma towards mental illness detracts students from considering a career in psychiatry. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of an eight week psychiatry clerkship on i) student knowledge and interest in psychiatry; ii) psychiatry as a career choice; iii) attitudes towards psychiatry; and iv) perceptions of stigma towards mental illness. Year 4 medical students at the University of Western Australia completed two questionnaires, the Balon Attitudes Towards Psychiatry and the Mental Illness Clinicians Attitudes (MICA), at the beginning and end of the psychiatry clerkship. Interest in, knowledge of, and consideration of psychiatry as a career were also assessed. Non-parametric tests were used to compare baseline and follow-up differences on the Balon and MICA. Unpaired t-tests compared mean differences for interest, knowledge and psychiatry as a career. Attitudes towards psychiatry were positive at the beginning of the clerkship. Overall, there was a significant decrease in negative and stigmatising views towards mental illness post clerkship measured by the MICA, but the follow-up mean score remained close to the neutral value with views in some areas becoming more negative. There was no significant improvement in students' interest in psychiatry post clerkship, however, knowledge of psychiatry improved significantly. Numbers of students 'definitely considering' psychiatry as a career increased significantly from 7 (4.6%) students at baseline to 17 (10.5%) at follow-up. The clerkship made a modest impact on students' attitudes to psychiatry, stigma and consideration of psychiatry as a career. Integration of strategies to overcome stigma towards mental illness and the mental health profession into pre-clinical teaching may provide students with skills to prepare them for the clerkship. This may assist in improving attitudes towards psychiatry and encourage more students towards a psychiatry career.
    BMC Medical Education 12/2015; 15(1):307. DOI:10.1186/s12909-015-0307-4 · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine factors influencing the choice of psychiatry as a career between residency program application and ranking decision making.
    Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie 08/2014; 59(8):450-454. · 2.41 Impact Factor