Professional experiences of early career academic psychiatrists in Turkey:a qualitative study

Objective:Defining job experience for a psychiatrist has always been a matter of debate and describing the work done by a psychiatrist is often challenging. Furthermore, cultural differences and variance in health policies across countries may complicate psychiatrists' subjective experiences of their work. The authors aimed to provide insight into the personal experience of those who become psychiatrists and are in active practice in academic settings. Methods:In-depth interviews were held with 16 psychiatrists working in various university and research health care services in Ankara, Turkey. Two questions were asked to the participants: a. How did you decide to become a psychiatrist? b. What can you tell us about your experiences as a psychiatrist throughout your career? Recordings were transcribed for coding and analysis; the encoding processes included the initial coding, separating the concepts into themes, editing the codes and themes, identifying the findings, and interpreting the results. Results:Intellectual curiosity (such as the desire to understand humanity or research how the brain works) was the most commonly reported reason for choosing the field. Helping psychiatric patients, the most common motive reported in previous questionnaire-based studies was the least mentioned theme in this study. Problems specific to the practice of psychiatry, such as etiological debates, were a less important factor in posi-tive or negative feelings about the profession; competency and the feeling of being autonomous were among the more important factors. Discussion:Personal curiosity seems to precede the basic need to practice medicine for those in academic psychiatry. One subjective experience that seems fairly widespread is developing modest atti-tudes towards psychiatry. Minimizing targets and learning to be satisfied with the limits of what psychiatry can do for certain patients seems to provide a solution for omnipotence anxiety.

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