Junior doctor psychiatry placements in hospital and community settings: a phenomenological study

Sharon Beattie, Paul E S Crampton, Cathleen Schwarzlose, Namita Kumar, Peter L Cornwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: The proportion of junior doctors required to complete psychiatry placements in the UK has increased, due in part to vacant training posts and psychiatry career workforce shortages, as can be seen across the world. The aim of this study was to understand the lived experience of a Foundation Year 1 junior doctor psychiatry placement and to understand how job components influence attitudes.

DESIGN: The study was conducted using a cross-sectional qualitative phenomenological approach.

SETTING: Hospital and community psychiatry department settings in the North East of England, UK.

PARTICIPANTS: In total, 14 Foundation Year 1 junior doctors were interviewed including seven men and seven women aged between 23 and 34 years. The majority had completed their medical degree in the UK and were White British.

RESULTS: The lived experience of a junior doctor psychiatry placement was understood by three core themes: exposure to patient recovery, connectedness with others in the healthcare team and subjective interpretations of psychiatry. The experiences were moderated by instances of role definition, reaction to the specialty and the organisational fit of the junior doctor capacity in the specialty.

CONCLUSIONS: The study reinforces and adds to the literature by identifying connectedness as being important for both job satisfaction and morale, which is currently damaged within the junior doctor population. The study provides in-depth insights into the lived experience of psychiatry placements and can be taken forward by educationalists to ensure the placements are meaningful experiences for junior doctors by developing role definition, belonging, structure and psychiatric care responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere017584
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2017

Bibliographical note

© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2017. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.


  • Adult
  • Career Choice
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Psychiatry
  • Qualitative Research
  • Workforce
  • Young Adult

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