Factors Affecting Recruitment into Psychiatry: a Canadian Experience
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OBJECTIVE: There is a projected shortage of psychiatrists in Canada in forthcoming years. This study assessed factors in medical school education that are associated with students selecting psychiatry first and matching as a discipline. METHOD: The Canadian Organization of Undergraduate Psychiatry Educators (COUPE) conducted telephone interviews and sent e-mail questionnaires to the 17 medical schools across Canada; all schools provided data for 2012. Relevant data were obtained from the Canadian Resident Matching Service. Statistics were performed using v12 STATA program, and significance was set at a p value of <0.05. RESULTS: Medical student enrollment ranged from 54 to 266 students (mean = 158 ± 16). Of these students, 4.9 ± 0.6 % ranked psychiatry as their first choice for residency. Final match results yielded similar numbers at 5.0 ± 0.6 %. Ten out of 17 programs filled all psychiatry residency positions, whereas the remaining 7 programs had vacancy rates from 5 to 100 % (mean = 43.4 ± 15.1 %). Medical students were exposed to an average of 2.8 ± 0.5 pre-clerkship psychiatry weeks and 6.2 ± 0.3 clerkship weeks. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that the percentage of graduating medical students entering a psychiatry residency program could be predicted from the number of weeks of pre-clerkship exposure (p = 0.01; R(2) = 0.36) but not from the number of clerkship weeks (p = 0.74). CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the duration of pre-clerkship exposure to psychiatry predicts the number of students selecting psychiatry as their first choice as a discipline. Thus, increasing the duration of pre-clerkship exposure may increase the enrollment of medical students into psychiatry.
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