In Summary - Psychiatrist
Psychiatrists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Psychiatrist
The work of a Psychiatrist is generally fairly varied. They work with and treat people who are suffering from psychological illnesses or disorders such as depression, stress, alxheimers, schizophrenia or addiction. Usually the Psychiatrist specialises in a particular area such as Child Psychiatry, Drug Dependency, Forensic Psychiatry, or most importantly, General Adult Psychiatry.
In Ireland, the psychiatric services are divided into the public and private services and most consultants would work in both areas.
The specific tasks that psychiatrists carry out on a daily basis depend on the speciality they work in. One main sub-speciality, which covers a broad range of illnesses, is general adult psychiatry. Psychiatrists who work in other areas have more specific issues to deal with:
- Child and adolescent psychiatrists examine the mental and emotional development of 0-18 year olds, and also work closely with the respective families and teachers. Typical problems include eating disorders, drug abuse and depression.
- Forensic psychiatrists provide offender treatment and care, and may get involved in court procedures.
- Learning disability psychiatrists treat people with conditions such as Down's syndrome who also have mental health problems.
- Old age psychiatrists focus on problems that some elderly people suffer from, such as senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
- Psychotherapists often help people to deal with traumatic experiences, such as the death of someone close or a marriage breakdown. They use 'talking treatments' to help the patient change their behaviour, in order to cope in a more positive way.
Psychiatrists normally lead multi-disciplinary teams, which include social workers, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists. They give and receive information and advice about patients, which helps with diagnosis and report writing etc.
Most Psychiatrists would adopt an eclectic approach to treatment (although this depends on the speciality) so that the Psychiatrist will use a wide range of treatments, from psychotherapeutic approaches, to drug treatments, behavioural treatments, rehabilitation and so on. The general Psychiatrist needs a good knowledge of all these approaches.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Prescribe, direct, or administer psychotherapeutic treatments or medications to treat mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders.
- Analyze and evaluate patient data or test findings to diagnose nature or extent of mental disorder.
- Collaborate with physicians, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, or other professionals to discuss treatment plans and progress.
- Design individualized care plans, using a variety of treatments.
- Gather and maintain patient information and records, including social or medical history obtained from patients, relatives, or other professionals.
- Counsel outpatients or other patients during office visits.
- Examine or conduct laboratory or diagnostic tests on patients to provide information on general physical condition or mental disorder.
- Advise or inform guardians, relatives, or significant others of patients' conditions or treatment.
- Teach, take continuing education classes, attend conferences or seminars, or conduct research and publish findings to increase understanding of mental, emotional, or behavioral states or disorders.
- Review and evaluate treatment procedures and outcomes of other psychiatrists or medical professionals.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Psychiatrist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
It is essential that you enjoy talking to people. You must be interested in how the mind works and how this affects behaviour. You should also be a good listener with the ability to ask the right questions to get helpful information. You need to be a good detective and be able to pick up clues.
You will need to be understanding and sympathetic, but also have a level head, as you may have to deal with disturbed people who have stories that may be upsetting. As you are likely to spend some time working in a team, you will need good interpersonal and communication skills.
A medical career involves a long period of academic and clinical training. This means that you must have considerable physical and mental stamina.
Entry Requirements - Psychiatrist
A specialist is a doctor who is certified to practise independently in a specific area of medicine (eg Psychiatry). A specialist has completed all of their postgraduate training and does not require supervision by a more senior doctor. It can take about 15 years to become a specialist. The career pathway is as follows:
1. Medical Degree - a five to six-year undergraduate medical degree programme at one of the six medical schools in Ireland.
2. Internship - newly graduated doctors spend 12 months training in hospitals as an Intern (equivalent to ‘house officer’ in some jurisdictions), working as part of a team with nurses and experienced doctors, and earning their first salary as a doctor.
The intern year is structured so that a doctor can experience a variety of medical specialties; at least three months must be spent in general Medicine and at least three months in general Surgery. Interns can also spend 2 – 4 months in:
- Emergency Medicine
- General Practice
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology
- Anaesthesia (to include perioperative medicine)
This variety helps the intern decide which area of medicine they want to continue training in. In Ireland, the Medical Council oversees the intern year.
3. Basic Specialist Training - Towards the end of the intern year, a doctor must choose an area of medicine to continue training in. The next stage of training is Basic Specialist Training (BST).
There are 10 BST programmes in Ireland, including Psychiatry:
Postgraduate Medical Training Body
College of Anaesthetists of Ireland
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
General Internal Medicine (and its subspecialties)
Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training, RCPI
Irish College of General Practitioners
Faculty of Pathology, RCPI
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCPI
Irish College of Ophthalmologists
Paediatrics (including Neonatology)
Faculty of Paediatrics, RCPI
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
In most cases BST is two years in duration. During this time a doctor works as a Senior House Officer (SHO), mostly in hospitals and always under the supervision of a more experienced doctor.
To find out more about BST with RCPI, click here.
4. Registrar Training - After BST most doctors want to progress to Higher Specialist Training (HST). Entry to HST is very competitive. Some doctors may need to wait for a year or two before they either meet all of the entry criteria (e.g. passing postgraduate exams) or are successful at interview.
In RCPI, the Registrar Training Programme (RTP) is designed for doctors who want to continue their training at registrar level with a view to progressing on to HST.
5. Higher Specialist Training (HST) - is designed to bring a doctor’s skills up to the standard required for independent, specialist practice. HST takes four to six years to complete, depending on the specialty. During this time a doctor works as a Specialist Registrar (SpR). On satisfactory completion of HST, SpRs receive a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Specialist Training (CSCST) which allows them to enter the Specialist Division of the Medical Council.
6. Consultant - Once a doctor is on the Specialist Division of the Register with the Medical Council they are eligible to apply for consultant posts. However is not always easy to get into these highly-regarded positions. With the exception of GPs (General Practitioners), specialists in Ireland are generally referred to as ‘consultants’.
Many doctors spend some time working abroad and building up their portfolio of research, audits and publications before becoming a consultant.
Last Updated: March, 2015
Pay & Salary - Psychiatrist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 39k - 60k
Last Updated: February, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Psychiatrist
Due to international demand for these skills, job opportunities will continue to arise.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Psychiatrist
Public Appointments Service
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Health Service Executive (HSE)
The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland
Irish Medical Council