One of my readers from California e-mailed me a few days ago asking if she could conduct an interview with me to discuss psychiatry and why I’m interested in pursuing it. Curious to see what we would discuss, I agreed to it and scheduled a time with her for our interview.
What motivates you to pursue psychiatry?
I recently started a new page on my blog called “Pre-Med Life” that details my journey into medicine so far! Feel free to check it out and read about what life is like as a pre-med student at Rutgers University.
What are some misconceptions about psychiatry?
I think there is a lot of confusion surrounding the differences between “psychology” and “psychiatry.” I’ve noticed a lot of people fail to recognize that psychologists have a PhD or PsyD in psychology whereas psychiatrists are medical doctors and have prescriptive privileges.
Do you feel it is worth going into psychiatry?
I’ll be perfectly honest. If you don’t have a deep interest in mental illness and learning about medicine, it’s probably a good idea to reassess whether or not you want to pursue psychiatry. Medical school is very expensive and time consuming and psychiatry is one of the lowest paid professions in all of medicine (relative to other specialities). I’m currently in the process of trying to shadow a psychiatrist which is incredibly difficult due to patient confidentiality restrictions but I want to be absolutely certain of my interests since the journey into psychiatry is a long one.
What are the job prospects for psychiatry?
I once read that there is a shortage of over 45,000 psychiatrists in the United States so job prospects here are very good. Over a third of currently practicing psychiatrists are over the age of 60 and will be retiring soon. Psychiatrists are in demand.
However, some states have started to give psychologists prescriptive rights to help alleviate of shortage of psychiatrists. If more states jump on board, I’m not sure how this transition will impact the future of psychiatry.
How often do you interact with others regarding psychiatry?
I actually do not know even a SINGLE other person who is interested in psychiatry.
What advice do you have for a high school student wishing to pursue this profession?
Take AP science classes and avoid the college freshman weed-out courses. The sooner you learn the material on the MCAT, the more time you have to study for it. Plus, you’ll advance into your upper-level courses sooner. HOWEVER, just like how I switched from business to science, ALWAYS KEEP AN OPEN MIND and take courses that interest you even if they’re completely unrelated.
And do you like Rice Dream?
Thank you for the interview, Jennifer! I hope you found our conversation (and this post) useful in your research! Wishing you the best of luck in the completion of your assignment.