The handout for this section includes general information about diagnosis and the scietific approach to psychiatry as well as presenting its place in medicine. This page is a potential source of more general information about the profession and the career of psychiatry. As Dinesh Bhugra, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said,
Psychiatry is one of the most challenging and rewarding disciplines within medicine. Many medical schools only spend a few weeks teaching psychiatry, leaving many students unaware of the specialty’s tremendous richness and variety.
One in four people will develop some kind of mental illness during their life, and psychiatrists provide care for people across the entire lifespan, from childhood to old age. Each age group presents its own challenges and range of conditions.
I had always wanted to do psychiatry, although many people in my medical school tried to dissuade me. But I have never regretted the decision. My psychiatric training began in Leicestershire more than 25 years ago, and since then I have enjoyed a career that is intellectually stimulating, personally fulfilling and, above all, great fun.
I have worked in a number of different settings, including a community mental health team and a psychiatric intensive care unit, and now run a psychosexual and relationship therapy clinic. Just when you think you have seen it all, you come across a patient who challenges all your existing notions.
A good psychiatrist is an excellent communicator and listener, works effectively as part of a team, understands the needs of vulnerable patients, and is able to bring empathy, encouragement and hope to patients and their carers.
If you think you have these skills, I urge you to consider psychiatry. Choosing psychiatry as your medical specialism can open the door to an exciting, varied and flexible career, with excellent opportunities for those who wish to progress to the most senior positions.
Overview of psychiatry