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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 61 (2019) 3, 159 - 163

Opinion

Should the psychiatrist of the future become a multi-specialist or a super-specialist?

M.G. Nijs, B. Sabbe

background The subject of psychiatry is not easy to define and is characterised by considerable complexity of dysfunctional human behaviour. What does this mean for the training of psychiatrists? Is further differentiation with a strong specialisation from the start of the training process the only option to develop the discipline?
aim To formulate a strategic direction for the future training of psychiatrists in the Netherlands and Belgium.
method Personal reflection by two senior psychiatrists from the Netherlands and Belgium.
results The profile of the psychiatrist of the future is that of a multi-specialist. It is desirable to keep the training programme broad and to develop sufficient competencies for young colleagues to enjoy throughout their careers: in addition to the clinical competencies in diagnostics and treatment, it concerns cooperation, communication, leadership (organisation), and professionalism. Psychotherapeutic skills are essential. Specialisation after the formal education is almost inevitable. Of the current focus areas (geriatric psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and adult psychiatry), especially adult psychiatry should be further differentiated. The professional associations should facilitate the transfer from one sub-area to another sub-area without extensive administrative work. The enthusiasm of medical students for psychiatry should be actively stimulated, based on a new professional profile.
conclusion Throughout the entire program (4 years in the Netherlands, 5 years in Belgium) learning general competencies (truncus communis) must be advocated. These competencies must form the basis for a deepening or specialisation after the training. This should ensure that psychiatrists can move relatively smoothly from one sub-area to another. The psychiatrist as a multi-specialist.

keywords education, general competencies, multi-specialist, psychiatric training, recruitment, super-specialist