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Hello there! Welcome to the website for the Christchurch Psychiatric Training Programme.

My name is Allie Lin, and I am the current Senior Registrar Representative. I am originally from Taiwan but have grown up in Christchurch and have trained here since the 4th year of medical school.

The training programme in Christchurch has an excellent reputation and we are proud of the calibre of clinical excellence that our more senior colleagues demonstrate as they graduate the programme and start working as psychiatrists.

For me, there are multiple advantages to training in Christchurch. We have a very patient-focused and clinically able group of supervising psychiatrists who seem to always be interested in our training and progression through our clinical rotations. Christchurch has the feel of a less metropolitan city but also access to subspeciality areas which you just would not get exposed to in other centres. For example, in addition to the regular General Adult, Child and Adolescent, and Older Person’s mental health service, we have a regional Mothers and Babies outpatient and inpatient service, a specialised Eating Disorder outpatient and inpatient service, and a Child and Adolescent ward, all three of which are now based in brand new therapeutic environments. Additionally, we have an Opioid Recovery Service joint with our Alcohol and Other Drug service which provides care for those with severe substance use disorder (SUD), or SUD with co-morbid severe mental health disorders. We also have a range of Mental Health Service-related Committees with Registrar representation which can be very helpful in developing leadership and management skills and meeting some College requirements.

As we start progressing through our training, assessments start to become more prevalent and stressful, but our registrars receive support from the Directors of Training, Alan, Julie, and Carol (in previous years a DOT, but now supports us from management perspective). Multiple tutorials are held around high stakes exams, group study is encouraged, and there is minimal pushback around funding and education leave for training needs. This has led to a consistently high success rate in College examinations over the last few years.

Work life balance is good in Christchurch. Some of the General Adult runs can be busy but probably no worse than other parts of the country and most people get home on time. We have two registrars on-call (from home). This means the workload can be split and traditionally has been quite manageable, although definite increases in demand and pressures have been felt in recent years. That being said, we operate on a 1 in 27 roster. This looks like 4–5 sets of nights a year, with 3- or 4-night splits. You will likely do 1–2 on-calls each fortnight from 4pm to 11pm during a weekday, or a single day in the weekend from 8am to 11pm. When first starting out, new registrars get a period of getting used to the job prior to being rostered onto on-calls. This will look like initially doing second on-calls, while shadowing the first on-call, then progressing from there. The Crisis Resolution Service triages and provides psychosocial assessments for most patients after hours and registrars are generally practicing near the top of our scope when called in. Consultants are friendly and supportive and there is an expectation that you will call them for patients you see when junior even overnight!

The registrars are friendly, and we do have regular social events. Our current group consists of fresh-faced recent house officers, ex-paediatric registrars, ex-gen med registrars, and ex-surgery registrars so I assume we are doing something right. There has been more of a drive to do whole registrar group teaching in the last couple of years at least 2–3 times a year. There is a yearly Registrar “retreat”, as well as a hotly contested quiz at our end of year function, the winners of which are awarded the Alan Faulkner cup (and this is a very special occasion indeed). We meet monthly formally as a registrar group, to discuss training and service provision issues, and my role as the Registrar Rep is to liaise with management and the training programme to ensure continued quality improvement of the training programme and to help smooth over any problems with on-call, rotation experiences or general training issues.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me:

Allie Lin

We also have trainees who have moved to Christchurch from different parts of the country at different stages in training, who would be happy to talk to you about how the transition went for them.

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