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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2000 Feb;34(1):146-53.

Psychiatric training in New Zealand.

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Department of Psychological Medicine, Wellington Medical School, Newtown, New Zealand.



The aims of this study were to develop a profile of current psychiatric trainees in New Zealand, to identify factors important in their recruitment to and retention in psychiatric training and to identify factors that predict failure to complete training.


A survey was sent to all current psychiatric trainees in New Zealand and to all trainees who could be traced who had left psychiatric training in New Zealand In the last 5 years without completing the Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.


General characteristics of the two groups are presented, as well as information about recruitment, burnout, general health and experiences of work and training. The only significant difference in general characteristics between the two groups was that more of those who had left training prematurely had been born overseas. The levels of family and personal mental illness were high, but there was no difference in these rates between those who had stayed in training and those who had left permaturely. Most trainees had decided to pursue a psychiatric career during their house-officer years. The most important factors determining the choice of a career in psychiatry were philosophical interest and house-officer experience in psychiatry. With respect to retention, despite high rates of burnout and psychological morbidity, and dissatisfaction with various aspects of the work setting, 94% of current trainees indicated satisfaction with their decision to train in psychiatry and over 90% intended to practise in New Zealand in the future. Most trainees who left training prematurely did so during the first 2 years of training. Dissatisfaction with work conditions, and stress or burnout were the main reasons for leaving.


This study provides information on some of the complex determinants of psychiatric recruitment and retention in the New Zealand setting. Areas that could be addressed in order to improve recruitment, work satisfaction and retention in training are considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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