U.S. Seniors Still Choosing Psychiatry; Matches to PGY-2 Residencies on Decline

Article excerpt

The allure of a developing field and flexible schedule continues to attract U.S. medical school seniors to residencies in psychiatry.

The National Resident Matching Program reported that a total of 697 U.S. seniors matched to residency positions for the following programs in 2005: general psychiatry; medicine-psychiatry (internal medicine); the "triple board" pediatric/psychiatry/child psychiatry category; the psychiatry subcategories of child psychiatry, family practice and neurology; and the postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) programs.

This represents a gain of 11 U.S. seniors from 2004--and 131 from 2000, when only 566 U.S. seniors filled positions in all of these programs.

"From 1997 to today, we've seen about a 50% increase in U.S. medical school seniors choosing psychiatry," Deborah J. Hales, M.D., director of the division of education with the American Psychiatric Association, told this newspaper.

Several factors account for psychiatry's popularity, Dr. Hales said. "First, there's lots of excitement in the area of neuroscience, which is creating new and more effective treatments for our patients." Psychiatrists also have lots of control over their schedules, an attraction for the young physician.

Humanism is a third factor. "We're the physicians who spend the most time talking to our patients," she said.

Overall, the psychiatry categories filled 1,035 positions this year, 4 more than last. General psychiatry did well once again, filling 653 slots with U.S. seniors, 12 more than last year.

On the decline are the numbers of graduating students matching to PGY-2 residencies, where students do 1 year of preliminary work in another discipline, then finish out their residency in clinical psychiatry. …


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