Friday, June 06, 2008

The Decline of Psychiatry, Part 5

As seen in a comment by a reader made earlier on this blog:

Psychiatry residency programs now are happy if they get 55% U.S. medical school graduates, that's an increase over what it has been.

What do you call the U.S. medical school graduate who places last in his class? A psychiatry resident.
We have this news report on shortages of psychiatrists in Minnesota. Seems people are not signing up for the field. of course, we have to supply some snippets from the report as seen in The Daily News (of the Wahpeton, ND - Breckenridge, MN area).
A shortage of psychiatrists in Minnesota has caused a strain on current workers and left cities struggling to replace them. Some reasons behind the shortage include low pay in comparison to other jobs in the field and public stigma of the position. In 2004, a Minnesota Public Radio report revealed the state had one psychiatrist for every 10,000 people.

There is little evidence the problem will cease, especially in rural areas. Stefan Gildemeister, assistant director of the health economics bureau at the Minnesota Department of Health, said present calculations for the state are the same.

"A recent study we did, which looked at surveys in greater Minnesota, showed the vacancy rate for psychiatrists was higher than for any other specialty," he said. Breckenridge faces its own significant ratio. A maximum of 136 psychiatric patients walk through the doors of the Hope Unit at St. Francis Healthcare Campus per week, but there is only one psychiatrist to help them. "Many people who attend medical school do not plan on going into psychiatry," said Nancy Torson, MD, at the Hope Unit. "Historically, it has been difficult for programs to fill residency slots, and often they can't fill them."

[...] As psychiatry is one of the lower paying jobs in the field, Torson said "the patient population doesn't appeal to many med students."

Let's see, could there be lower esteem in the eyes of the public? Would all those news stories about shaky and suspect practitioners have anything to do with this? It sounds like you really have to want to be a psychiatrist to become a psychiatrist.

No comments: