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What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is a specific area of medicine that focuses on mental health conditions, from causes and diagnosis to prevention and treatment of a range of different conditions. One of the key distinctions between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists will generally seek to identify a biological or physiological cause for certain mental health conditions or symptoms, aiming to treat these with medicines as well as psychological therapies, whereas psychologists generally focus on psychological therapies and psychological factors alone.This means that psychiatrists need a good knowledge of genetics, and other physical health issues that can affect mental health, blending physical medicine and mental health therapy to be able to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions most effectively.

It is common for psychiatrists to specialize in areas such as;

  • Addiction
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Sleep disorders
  • Geriatric psychiatry

This gives psychiatrists a wide range of specialisms and routes to develop in their career, making it an interesting and varied role with plenty of opportunities for dedicated and hardworking individuals.

Who employs psychiatrists?

Psychiatrists are employed by all sorts of organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, universities, community agencies, courts, prisons, the military, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and private practices.

These organizations tend to offer various treatments and therapies for patients suffering from mental health conditions that may have underlying or unknown physical causes. This means that psychiatrists can work with people of various ages and in all kinds of different institutions, both independently and in support of other therapies and clinicians or multi-disciplinary teams.

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How do you become a psychiatrist?

Becoming a psychiatrist takes a lot of work, and first requires a degree in medicine (M.O) or osteopathic medicine (D.O) followed by several years of practice as a psychiatric resident, which can go on for 4 years. This period of time is spent training in diagnosis, psychopharmacology, and various psychotherapies. Residents are required to finish four months of post-graduate training in internal medicine and at least two months of neurology. After all of this, a candidate will be eligible to take a specialty board examination to become a board-certified psychiatrist. From the end of high school, all of this training takes at least 12 years, which is an immense amount of time spent in development, and isn’t for the faint of heart.  Additional specialized training can make this period of time even longer, so it’s a very serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Psychiatrist salary/earning potential

Psychiatrists have great earning potential, due in large part to the immense amount of time, effort, skill, and investment they take on to become fully certified psychiatrists. Not many people are able to complete the process, which naturally makes the number of psychiatrists quite small, as few people have all the necessary aptitudes and qualities required to sustain such a long period of work and study.

As such, psychiatrists are paid very well generally, with the average salary being over $200,000 a year. This can be affected by various factors such as experience, location, and the organization being worked for, but generally, psychiatrists are paid well above the average wage in the US and elsewhere, indicating the incredibly skilled and difficult work they undertake.

What does a psychiatrist do in their job?

Psychiatrists are somewhat similar to psychologists in that they are primarily responsible for researching and focusing on mental health issues, however, the difference is that psychiatrists are able to prescribe medicines and treatments that go beyond forms of talk therapy, and which look at finding and treating the underlying cause of mental health issues, be they related to things like depression, mood issues, sleep issues or psychosis.

Psychiatrists can be considered a sort of compromise between a traditional doctor or physician and a psychologist, able to understand mental health and its intricacies while being able to relate these issues to physical causes and finding suitable treatments.

Is being a psychiatrist stressful?

It definitely can be, as psychiatrists often deal with patients who are seriously ill or have been through tragic situations and circumstances and aren’t always able to help or resolve these issues. While not all psychiatrists deal with psychopaths and severely mentally ill patients, it’s a high-stress job as it can be difficult to diagnose correctly, and comes under intense scrutiny to ensure patient safety, much like other medical doctors and professions.

While challenging, it is a very rewarding job at the very frontline of trying to help people deal with mental illnesses and find solutions to some of the most tragic and disturbing illnesses and afflictions that exist.

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Position Company Location Posted
RN - PSYCHIATRY Providence Everett, Washington 11/24/2022
Description $10,000 Hiring Bonus for eligible external candidates who meet all conditions for payment - this is in addition to the fantastic benefits and compensation package offered by Providence that begin on your first day of employment. (FTE 0.75 - Night - 1240) Here, nurses are not simply valuedthey're invaluable. Nurses thrive in our culture of connection where encouragement, mutual respect and understanding are the focus. We listen to your goals ... More
Consultant Psychiatrist Te Whatu Ora Health NZ Other 11/24/2022
M Ttou About Us Situated in the sunny eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, the Bay of Plenty really is just that, offering vast golden sand beaches, bush clad mountains, lush farmlands and more. Its pleasant climate means that the area has become a favourite for holiday makers, retirees and those looking for a different lifestyle outside of the main cities. Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand, Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty is spread across a vast geographical ... More
Consultant Psychiatrist Adult - Whare Whakaue Te Whatu Ora Lakes Rotorua, New Zealand - North Island 11/24/2022
Vacancy No: ROT01937 Consultant Psychiatrist, Whare WhakaueMental Health and Addictions ServicePermanent, full time 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week). Flexibility for the right candidate. Ng huanga o tnei mahi / The benefits of this position If you are looking for an exciting opportunity to join a passionate team who places great value on putting people first, embedding Te Ao Mori in every-day practice, leading with kindness ... More
Senior Research Project Manager C University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 11/24/2022
Senior Research Project Manager CUniversity OverviewThe University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 ... More
CNB Project Manager University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 11/24/2022
CNB Project ManagerUniversity OverviewThe University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded ... More
Assistant Professor (Research), Psychiatry, Cognitive & Digital Mental Health (C-221110) Douglas Research Center Montreal, Quebec 11/24/2022
Position description The Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and the Douglas Research Centre are currently inviting applications for a full-time Assistant Professor (Research) in the broadly defined field of Cognitive and Digital Mental Health. The successful candidate will hold an academic appointment as a member of the Contract Academic Staff. This position does not confer eligibility for tenure.This recruitment is part of our institutional ... More
Anesthesiologist (non-tenure track) Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 11/24/2022
The Department of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine seeks a full-time non-tenure-eligible Clinician-Educator at the rank of Assistant Professor or Instructor with a strong interest in research, education, and clinical care. Responsibilities include providing clinical and general anesthesia care to patients at NMH. The selected candidate will participate in the educational programs of the department and medical school, which may include teaching and education ... More
Anesthesiologist (non-tenure track) Northwestern University Chicago, Illinois 11/24/2022
The Department of Anesthesiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine seeks a full-time non-tenure-eligible Clinician-Educator at the rank of Assistant Professor or Instructor with a strong interest in research, education, and clinical care. Responsibilities include providing clinical and general anesthesia care to patients at NMH. The selected candidate will participate in the educational programs of the department and medical school, which may include teaching and education ... More
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