The experience of psychiatry training in rural NSW

Australas Psychiatry. 2014 Oct;22(5):492-9. doi: 10.1177/1039856214543086. Epub 2014 Jul 29.


Objective: To examine the experience of psychiatry training in rural New South Wales.

Method: All rural trainees in New South Wales and key psychiatrists involved in their training were invited to complete a survey in May-July 2013.

Results: Responses were received from 26 out of 44 rurally placed psychiatry trainees (57% response rate) and 37 out of 55 psychiatrists involved in training in a rural area (67% response rate). Positive and negative aspects of rural training were reported. In general, trainees reported positive experiences regarding supervision, consultant input and their Site Coordinator of training. Their experience of other aspects of training and education in rural areas was often negative with 52% of trainees feeling at a disadvantage due to fewer registrar peers and 60% feeling educationally isolated. Difficulty progressing through training, workforce shortages, difficulty accessing formal aspects of training and limited options for advanced training were reported. Metropolitan trainees on rotation to rural terms receive accommodation, travel and an increase in wage from the rural Local Health District. Rural trainees on rotation to the city for their mandatory subspecialty training receive no such support.

Conclusions: There are many challenges for rural trainees. Support from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and state and federal governments to enhance the rural training experience is vital.

Keywords: medical education; psychiatry; rural health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • New South Wales
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Rural Health Services / standards*