Interested in Psychiatry as a career? Please click on the accordians below and follow the pathway to becoming a Consultant.
What Can You Expect?
Psychiatry is a fascinating discipline that captures and integrates much of why students choose to enter the medical profession. It requires an understanding and knowledge of the physical aspects of health but also demands a sophisticated understanding of the psychological aspects of people's lives and the social circumstances in which people live.
Psychiatric disorders can be understood at many levels corresponding with this complex mixture of the individual, their society and their physical make up and developing good psychiatric management plans with individual patients is an art that is both intellectually challenging and endlessly rewarding.
Psychiatry as a career offers a huge range of potential careers in a wide range of settings across the age range.
"I was at the Longley Centre based in the Academic Unit which was great as each day we were place in different Wards around the Longley Centre as well as attending outpatients clinics. So we got to see a variety of patients e.g. intensive treatment suite, elderly Psychiatry etc. The staff at the Academic Centre went out of their way to teach us and we were also able to go and see ECT - which was very different to how it is described in the media!
Although I enjoyed my Psychiatry placement, it did not actually jump out at me as a strong future career option until my Paediatric placement in Grimsby. There were so many teenagers admitted onto the ward with Psychiatric problems and it was good to see the Medical and CAMHS team working together to give the young patients the best care they could. These patients were not under just Psychiatry but also remained under Medicine for some time as tests were performed to rule out any physical pathological causes."
- Gemma Page, 2nd Year Core Trainee
"I have to say that my placement here was the best organised placement I ever had. The support staff in the education centre were astonishingly helpful and friendly. On our first day we were provided with a lengthy induction, given a tour of the unit, given a timetable for the full six week placement, and introduced to the module lead and our personal tutors (we were each assigned to a Consultant who we met with periodically throughout the placement who we could practise long cases with and discuss things we'd seen on the attachment or ask any questions).
All teaching we received during the placement happened on time and was of good quality. On the rare occasion that a facilitator for a teaching session did not show up, the support staff were promptly on hand in order to bleep them etc. The amount of teaching was substantial - in addition to the ILAs, we had 2-3 extra tutorials per week on relevant topics not covered by ILAs/lectures. We also had the opportunity to attend patient consultations with Crisis Team, which was a good learning experience. Staff who were very helpful and good at teaching during the attachment were Dr Das, Dr Taylor and Dr Ackroyd."
- Cara Evans, Former Medical Student
What Can You Expect?
Psychiatry, with its blend of Psychosocial and Physical aspects of Medicine is intellectually challenging and rewarding to practice. Team working is fundamental - Psychiatrists work in teams with a wide range of disciplines and the contribution the Doctors make is hugely valued and respected.
Foundation Trainees get a glimpse of this working environment and the rewards that come from working within teams that are built on respect and cooperation. The work at times is challenging but there is rarely a sense of 'not making a difference' with huge positive feedback from both Patients and their relatives when the teamwork and plans come together in success.
Foundation Trainees are well supported by their Clinical Supervisors and teams. They have the opportunity to participate in groups led by experienced Psychiatrists which allow them to reflect on their experiences and their own reactions to the Clinical work they do.
"I started my Psychiatry job placement feeling apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. I feel it is fair to say that anybody who starts this job the first time would feel the same but I never regretted this job. I was given a lot of responsibility and a chance to exert my individual contribution to the team. My clinical skills were well used and practiced. I met many interesting and inspiring characters. These experiences I value greatly. I came into this placement with limited knowledge; I have now left this placement knowing what is the right path for my future career."
- Dr Francis Felix, 3rd Year Core Trainee
"This was my first ever job as a doctor. I was immediately made to feel welcome within the multi-disciplinary team and was quickly became involved in all aspects of the care of the patients. This post, and the people I worked with, inspired me to pursue a career in Psychiatry. The professional relationships I formed with patients went beyond any other I have experienced in other placements and I could not imagine applying for any other specialty!"
- Dr Helen Henfrey, 3rd Year Core Trainee
Training in Psychiatry
Hello, my name is Esther and I’m currently a core trainee year 3 (CT3) in psychiatry, working in South Yorkshire. I’ve had a fantastic experience in training within the Yorkshire and the Humber Deanery and highly recommend the programme to those considering a career in psychiatry.
To help you understand what your training journey through psychiatry will look like, I wanted to highlight some useful links to the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s website which shows how you can become a psychiatrist:
Core training in Psychiatry
Training in psychiatry involves initially 3 years of core psychiatry training when you rotate around the sub-specialties of psychiatry including general adult, old age, child and adolescent psychiatry or psychiatry of intellectual disabilities, forensic psychiatry and liaison psychiatry. If you are a full time core trainee then posts are 6 months long, or if you are a part time they can be 6 months or 12 months long. Training posts may be located in the community or on inpatient units or a combination of both.
During each post, you will have a clinical supervisor (CS) (a consultant) who will supervise your post and meet with you once a week for one hour for a supervision session alongside day-to-day support. For your 3 years in core training, you will also have an educational supervisor (ES) (also a consultant) who will meet with you around 3 times a year to oversee and support you during the entirety of your core training. Prior to the start of training, you will be notified of who your educational supervisor is and who will be your first clinical supervisor. Training can start in either February or August each year.
After you have been accepted to and started core training, The Royal College of Psychiatrists has an online eportfolio which you can access after you have registered with them. Here is a link to how to register (this is a paid subscription).
In the eportfolio, you will record your training experiences and complete work placed based assessments (WPBAs) as you progress through your training.
During your core training, is when you have the opportunity to complete your exams in psychiatry through the Royal College of Psychiatrists; paper A, paper B and the Clinical Assessment of Skills and Competencies (CASC) exam.
For more information about the exams, here is a link to the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s website which has the most up to date information:
Higher training in Psychiatry
Following completion of core training, trainees can progress to higher training in psychiatry.
After considering and experiencing in core training what you’d like to specialise in as a consultant, you can choose general adult psychiatry, old age psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, psychiatry of intellectual disabilities and forensic psychiatry as single specialty higher training programmes. (Please note: there are no single specialty medical psychotherapy programmes available in Yorkshire and the Humber).
There are also dual higher training opportunities in Yorkshire and the Humber in:
- General adult psychiatry and old age psychiatry
- General adult psychiatry and medical psychotherapy
- Forensic psychiatry and medical psychotherapy
- Forensic psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry
- Forensic psychiatry and psychiatry of intellectual disabilities
- Child and adolescent psychiatry and medical psychotherapy
- Child and adolescent psychiatry and psychiatry of intellectual disabilities
Higher training is usually 3 years for a single speciality and 4 for dual specialities, but there may be exceptions to this depending on the speciality. For currently available programmes, it is worth contacting the training programme director (TPD) for your region for up-to-date information (see link below – “who we are”).
During higher training, will also have a clinical supervisor (CS) for each post (as in core training) and an educational supervisor (ES) who oversees the whole of your higher training journey. At the end of higher training, you will achieve a CCT (Certificate of Completion in Training). You can then apply for posts as a consultant.
If you wish to contact us for any further information about in training in Yorkshire and the Humber we’d be very glad to hear from you. Here are our contact details:
Dr. Esther Loganathan
Core Trainee year 3 (CT3) psychiatry trainee in South Yorkshire
Comments from psychiatry trainees of their experiences training in Yorkshire and the Humber
"I feel so supported, well nurtured and am having the time of my life."
- Dr Ogba Onwuchekwa, ST6 General Adult Psychiatry trainee in North and East Yorkshire
"I have enjoyed working with a friendly, supportive and clinically excellent team of consultants who attempt to get to know you as an individual and listen to your feedback."
- Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant Psychiatrist in South Yorkshire, previous trainee in North and East Yorkshire
"I have been part of the HEYH Psychiatry scheme as a Foundation, Core and Higher Trainee. It's been a wonderfully friendly, rewarding and engaging environment to train in. I’ve enjoyed every stage."
- Dr Gaelle Slater, Consultant Psychiatrist in South Yorkshire and former General Adult Psychiatry trainee in South Yorkshire
"Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber provides unique working opportunities for Training, as well as having a well developed Clinical Leadership and Management Fellow programme.
The location is fantastic, I have the beautiful Peak District on my back door step and the City of Sheffield out of the front. The Consultants and Trainees are very friendly, eager to work together and collaborate on many different projects.
There are superb opportunities for clinical leadership, management and designing your own projects.
There is an excellent teaching programme with a pass rate above the National average."
- Dr Zead Said, Consultant Psychiatrist in South Yorkshire
My less than full time (LTFT) experience is that I started my career in psychiatry with a young family to raise, working LTFT at 60% was the best decision I could have made. When I initially started training there weren’t many core trainees that were LTFT nor were support networks widely available. However, I was lucky to start my core training in a brilliant team that were supportive and I was able to gradually adjust to my clinical work load and getting to know the team in the days that I was there. There is a misconception that the LTFT trainee has it easy but managing admin time alongside your clinical case load, bonding with the team, and studying for membership exams is challenging. Psychiatry has encouraged and facilitated less than full time working for me. Training has taken me longer but I have gained invaluable experience, confidence in my role as a clinician and I’m enjoying the slower pace. Looking back I have had no regrets and has had a positive impact on my mental health and well being.
- Dr. Elishba Chacko, ST4 General Adult Psychiatry Trainee in South Yorkshire
What Can You Expect?
Becoming a Consultant is a milestone – a big milestone indeed - but that is all it is. It is a point in a journey that has taken a number of years to reach but the learning that is part and parcel of a medical career continues. As a Consultant you have new expectations placed upon you and new responsibilities and at times this can seem daunting. On the other hand, there is a sense of achievement in reaching this stage of your career, and the achievement in reaching this point is still great.
As a Consultant you continue to develop your understanding of team working, complexity and you play an increasing role within your organisation in planning and improving services. Fundamental to your work is continuing to develop your clinical practice and experience such that within your team you come to be seen as a wise source of advice in cases that are complex and a calming influence on the overall work of the team.
Consultant careers can take several paths – involvement in Training the next generation of Students, Doctors and Nurses appeals to some while others enjoy developing careers that take them more in the direction of service improvement and management. Others pursue a research direction, deepening the scientific knowledge base of the profession or developing links across disciplines that enlighten our understanding of psychiatric conditions and the social contexts in which they occur. At different stages of the Consultant career, Doctors can focus on different aspects and switch between things as their careers develop. The breadth of mental health services, and their importance to overall well being and outcomes more widely, means that Consultants are able to find avenues to explore where they can contribute hugely to health care in ways that are endlessly fascinating throughout their careers.
"In terms of preparation for movement into a Consultant role, the School of Psychiatry has helped me in a number of ways:
The first thing that springs to mind is the role of the Educational Supervisor. My Educational Supervisor began guiding me and suggesting things that I could do to acquire the necessary skills and experience for Consultant practice right at the start of my ST4 year. Through that longitudinal view of Training, I was well-supported all the way through Higher Training.
The opportunity to Act-Up in a Consultant role for three months was an invaluable experience, and was something that I was able to draw on in my Consultant interview. I was well-advised and supported in preparation for this role by the Training Programme Director.
The Out Of Programme Experience that I was able to take part in with the School of Psychiatry gave me the opportunity to vastly increase my leadership and management experience. Through work with the Head of School, I was able to further develop a special interest that helped me in my job application and interview, and this is something that I will be able to continue as part of my role as a Consultant."
- Dr Mike Akroyd, Consultant