Pathways to practice: overseas trained psychiatrists' experiences of the processes involved in commencing professional practice in Australasia
Abstract Objective: There are significant shortages in the psychiatric workforce in Australasia, particularly in the rural and remote regions of Australia and New Zealand. In response to these shortages, mental health services have recruited large numbers of overseas trained psychiatrists (OTP). These are specialist psychiatrists, trained and recognised as such in other countries. Our objective was to ascertain how OTPs experience the processes of commencing professional practice in Australasia.
Method: OTPs were surveyed to identify the pathways to obtaining specialist registration and College Fellowship in Australasia and to explore their experiences as they engaged in this process.
Results: Although limited by a low response rate, the data does highlight a level of discontentment among those OTPs surveyed. The key issues identified related to the examination process, poor communication between different agencies (including the RANZCP), visa and residency related issues, medical board registration difficulties and notable differences between Australia and New Zealand.
Conclusion: There is a negative perception among OTPs regarding the existing pathways to registration as specialist psychiatrists and the attainment of Fellowship. We submit that the RANZCP has a central and important role in resolving some of the underlying issues and supporting OTPs as vital and valued members of the workforce in Australia and New Zealand. Keywords: Australasia, experiences, overseas trained psychiatrists, RANZCP, workforce