BJPsych Bulletin
‘Why did I become a psychiatrist?’: survey of consultant psychiatrists
Kalpana Dein, Gill Livingston, Christopher Bench



To find out why consultant psychiatrists chose psychiatry as a career. A questionnaire was developed and posted to 87 consultant psychiatrists in substantive posts within a London psychiatric training scheme.


The survey had a response rate of 83% (72 out of 87).The majority of consultants (n=40) chose psychiatry as a career after leaving medical school. The most important reasons cited were empathy with the patient group (36.1%), the interface of psychiatry with the neurosciences (25%), the better working conditions expected in psychiatry (20.8%) and medical school teaching of the subject (19.4%).


The study highlights the need for recruitment efforts after medical school. The findings also reflect the lasting influence of medical school exposure to psychiatry. Interventions for improving recruitment in psychiatry are suggested. The under-recruitment of British medical graduates is masked by overseas recruitment into the specialty.

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