'What makes an excellent mental health doctor?' A response integrating the experiences and views of service users with critical reflections of psychiatrists in Australia

Gunasekara, Imani, Patterson, Sue and Scott, James G. (2017) 'What makes an excellent mental health doctor?' A response integrating the experiences and views of service users with critical reflections of psychiatrists in Australia. Health and Social Care in the Community, 25 6: 1752-1762. doi:10.1111/hsc.12449


Author Gunasekara, Imani
Patterson, Sue
Scott, James G.
Title 'What makes an excellent mental health doctor?' A response integrating the experiences and views of service users with critical reflections of psychiatrists in Australia
Journal name Health and Social Care in the Community   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0966-0410
1365-2524
Publication date 2017-05-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/hsc.12449
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 25
Issue 6
Start page 1752
End page 1762
Total pages 11
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract While therapeutic relationships are appropriately recognised as the foundation of mental health service, service users commonly report suboptimal experiences. With shared understanding critical to improvement in practice, we explored service users' experiences and expectations of psychiatrists and consultations, engaging psychiatrists throughout the process. Using an iterative qualitative approach we co-produced a response to the question 'what makes an excellent mental health doctor?' Experiences and expectations of psychiatrists were explored in interviews with 22 service users. Data collection, analysis and interpretation were informed by consultation with peer workers. Findings were contextualised in formal consultations with psychiatrists. As 'masters of their craft', excellent mental health doctors engage authentically with service users as people (not diagnoses). They listen, validate experiences and empathise affectively and cognitively. They demonstrate phronesis, applying clinical knowledge compassionately. Psychiatrists share service users' aspiration of equitable partnership but competing demands and 'professional boundaries' constrain engagement. Consistent delivery of the person-centred, recovery-oriented care promoted by policy and sought by service users will require substantial revision of the structure and priorities of mental health services. The insights and experiences of service users must be integral to medical education, and systems must provide robust support to psychiatrists.
Keyword Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Policy
Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Sociology and Political Science
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID APP1105807
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes In Press accepted for publication

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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Created: Tue, 19 Sep 2017, 14:41:01 EST by James Scott on behalf of UQ Centre for Clinical Research