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Junior doctor psychiatry placements in hospital and community settings: a phenomenological study
  1. Sharon Beattie1,
  2. Paul E S Crampton2,3,
  3. Cathleen Schwarzlose4,
  4. Namita Kumar5,
  5. Peter L Cornwall1
  1. 1 Medical Education Faculty, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Middlesbrough, UK
  2. 2 Monash Center for Scholarship in Health Education (MCSHE), Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Research Department of Medical Education (RDME), Royal Free Hospital, UCL Medical School, London, UK
  4. 4 Regional Department for Psychotherapy, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland, UK
  5. 5 Postgraduate Dean, Health Education England North East, Newcastle, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sharon Beattie; sharonbeattie{at}


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.

  • postgraduate
  • psychiatry
  • workplace-based
  • education environment
  • phenomenology

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  • Contributors PESC made a substantial contribution to the analysis and interpretation of the data, and writing of the manuscript. SB made a substantial contribution to the conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, and editing and revising the manuscript. CS made a substantial contribution to the conception and design of the study and acquisition of data, and revising the manuscript. NK made a substantial contribution to the design of the study, acquisition of data, and revising the manuscript. PLC made a substantial contribution to the conception of the work and design of the study, and revising the manuscript. In addition, all authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work and gave final approval of the version to be published.

  • Funding The study was funded by Tees, Esk & Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust,a mental health organisation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Research and development approval for study was granted by the organisations involved and ethical procedures were followed at all times. This study was deemed exempt from NHS ethical review as the study involved qualitative interviews with NHS staff. Participants were given information sheets, written consent was taken prior to taking part in the study, and participant anonymity was protected.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement We do not have ethics approval to make raw data from this study available for sharing.