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Is research just an optional extra in clinical psychiatry? Invited commentary on … Research as part of the career of a psychiatrist entering clinical practice

  • Peter Tyrer (a1)
Summary

A reassessment of the reasons for psychiatrists being reluctant to do research is made. It is suggested that a combination of inspiration and scepticism is required to both be a good researcher as well as a good clinician. These are seldom to be found in one individual but usually can be found if the trainee is prepared to scour. the benefits of success are many, and a long and productive life in clinical practice is likely with a positive attitude to research, not just to keep up with developments in an informed way but to prevent the ossifying process of clinical dogmatism from developing.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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See special article, pp. 269–272, this issue.

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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Is research just an optional extra in clinical psychiatry? Invited commentary on … Research as part of the career of a psychiatrist entering clinical practice

  • Peter Tyrer (a1)
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eLetters

Integrating research into the career of a psychiatrist in the past, present and future?

Sameer Jauhar, ST5 General Adult Psychiatry
05 November 2009



Following the maelstrom of Modernising Medical Careers and changes to postgraduate training in the United Kingdom, trainees’ exposureto research has changed significantly. At an early stage those interested in a research career apply for a limited number of Academic Clinical Fellow and Clinical Lecturer posts, through Academic Programmes. The latest version of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ OP 65, “Specialist Training in Psychiatry” (3) advocates two sessions of “protected time” forHigher Trainees for both Research and Special Interest Sessions (unlike the four sessions advocated in the past(2)).Anecdotal feedback from trainees across the United Kingdom suggests that significant numbers of Higher trainees are therefore not conducting research (favouring audit), and though provision is made in the curriculumfor research, deaneries are not compelled to enforce this.

Australian colleagues have pointed to this problem in the past (4), and used the analogy of knowledge of research methods and statistics without conducting actual research being akin to that of practising medicine based solely on theoretical knowledge, without patient contact.

Furthermore, at a time when recruitment into psychiatry is in the spotlight, one of the accepted reasons for students neglecting psychiatry as a career choice (perceived lack of a scientific basis (5)) may be accentuated.

The ramifications of this shift could be that an entire generation ofpsychiatrists stop asking (and testing) the clinically relevant questions and that aspiring students do not enjoy the enriching experience of research.

References

1. Fogel J. Research as part of the career of a psychiatrist enteringclinical practice. Psychiatr Bull. 2009 Jul 1;33(7):269-272.

2. Tyrer P. Is research just an optional extra in clinical psychiatry? Invited commentary on... Research as part of the career of a psychiatrist entering clinical practice. Psychiatr Bull. 2009 Jul 1;33(7):273-274.

3.Royal College of Psychiatrists. OP 65; Specialist Training in Psychiatry: A Comprehensive guide 
to training and assessment in theUK for trainees and local educational providers.
(http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/PDF/StRGuiderrevised%2015%20September%202009AB%20CD.pdf)

4.Hay P., Mulder R., Boyce P. The scientific practitioner in psychiatry for the 21st century. Australasian Psychiatry. 2003 Dec;11:442-445.

5. Malhi GS, Parker GB, Parker K, Carr VJ, Kirkby KC, Yellowlees P, et al. Attitudes toward psychiatry among students entering medical school.Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2003;107(6):424-429.
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Conflict of interest: None Declared

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