Health Service Categories and Careers


Psychiatry is a medical specialty concerned with the mind, human behaviour, and health and well-being. It involves assessment, management and treatment of psychiatric conditions – including psychiatric emergencies and acute conditions, as well as comorbid and chronic psychiatric conditions. It is underpinned by knowledge of internal medicine and the neurosciences, including neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, and genetics and inheritance. It looks at different psychiatric disorders, their epidemiology, aetiology, phenomenology, symptoms, and comorbidities. It uses a range of assessment techniques, including interviewing, mental state examination, and classification, which help guide diagnosis and treatment. Treatments in psychiatry span across the social, biological, and psychological domains. Social psychiatry involves principals of recovery philosophy, awareness of stigma and psychosocial contexts, improvement of health literacy and public education, and facilitation of social support and other non-medical support services, such as counselling or group therapy. Biological treatments involve psychopharmacology prescription and management, and psychological treatments, including interventions and therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy. Psychiatry studies basic psychology, human development, ethics, patient and carer empowerment, legislation related to mental health, and statistic and research - including critical analysis.

Psychiatry subspecialties include: Addiction psychiatry, Administration psychiatry, Child and adolescent psychiatry, Community psychiatry, Consultation/liaison psychiatry, Emergency psychiatry, Psychiatric research, and Psychosomatic medicine. Psychiatric services are provided in hospitals, in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and in private and community clinics and institutions. Psychiatric care is provided by multi-disciplinary teams which include medical specialists, nursing, community and support staff, and care is integrated with other medical, health and social support services.

Psychiatry Jobs

Psychiatrists listen to and provide expert care for vulnerable people and their families. They seek to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat mental health conditions. They undertake interviewing and assessments to diagnose psychiatric disorders and other mental health conditions that affect behaviour, mood and development. They create treatment plans which reflect the medical and psychosocial needs of their patients, and incorporate a range of social, biological and psychological interventions, therapies and treatments. Psychiatrists lead teams of other doctors and health professionals, conduct research and critical analysis, and provide expert opinion to the community, government and courts. Psychiatrists practice in clinical and acute settings, as well as independently in outpatient settings. They can prescribe and administer antipsychotic medication, and provide psychoeducation to patients and their family and/or carers. To pursue a career in Psychiatry, registered doctors, after completing their PGY2, can undertake advanced training in Psychiatry with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP). This is a 5-year course which leads to Fellowship and Specialist registration with AHPRA.

Registrars (Psychiatry) are registered doctors who have completed their medical degree and pre-vocational training (internship and residency/PGY2-3). They have attained general registration with AHPRA and can now undertake specialist/or vocational training positions to broaden and refine their scope of practice and gain experience, skills and competency in their chosen area of medicine. Registrars are very important members of the integrated and multi-disciplinary health care team. They have increasing responsibility for patient care, oversee and support junior doctors and staff, participate in professional development activities and continue to receive important guidance, training, and support from senior staff. They work in a range of primary, secondary, tertiary, clinical, laboratory and acute care settings, in hospitals, private practices and community clinics. Registered doctors at this level can further their career as Hospital Doctors or Career Medical Officers or pursue a medical specialty with further training and specialist registration. Registrars who work in Psychiatry are undertaking specialised advanced training in Psychiatry and its clinical practice. They work under Psychiatrists/specialist consultants and develop skills, clinical expertise, and valuable work experience in providing medical care, diagnosis and treatment for patients with psychiatric and related co-morbid disorders.

Nurses (Psych, Mental Health) who work in this area work directly with patients who have psychiatric disorders, mental health disorders and/or addiction to alcohol and drugs. They often work with people who have behavioural challenges. They provide behavioural therapy, education and counselling, administer medications, help manage chronic and acute conditions, and connect people to other wellbeing, allied health and social services. They work in multidisciplinary teams in hospitals, clinics, prisons, and community settings.