Member profile: Dr Daniel Warren

Meet Dr Daniel Warren, Stage Two Psychiatry Registrar at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your work. 

I was raised in regional New Zealand but migrated to the Gold Coast to complete my medical degree and residency. I began fellowship training in Far North Queensland (FNQ) after 18 months as an unaccredited locum registrar. Although initially attracted to psychiatry by the complexity of pathology and culture of holism, I came to view it as the best speciality to incorporate personal interest around epistemology, research and statistics into clinical practice. 

2. What motivated you to choose a rural setting for your psychiatry training?

I initially planned to return to Southeast Queensland for training and moved to FNQ out of necessity: regional areas were my only employment options that would allow me to begin training without delay. Early in my first training term I found myself thoroughly enjoying my new home, in particular the cultural, social, and recreational advantages of living in regional Australia, and decided to continue training in the region.

3. Are there aspects of training in a rural setting that have struck you as better than a metropolitan setting?

Compared to the metropolitan settings in which I have been employed, I have found rural sites to have flatter organizational hierarchies, reduced competition for mandatory training posts, and higher levels of collegiality among co-workers. For me, these have led to professional development opportunities which in metropolitan sites would more likely have been delegated to a consultant, giving me early career experience in areas which are of special interest to me.

4. What advice do you have for anyone considering psychiatry training in a rural setting?

There is a stereotype that regional areas may provide a less rewarding training experience. My own experience has been that rural sites provide excellent breadth in training (including access to specialist training terms which in metro areas may be reserved for advanced trainees) and superior opportunity to develop (some) professional interests due to comparatively less competition from registrars. My general advice is that during generalist training – Stage One and Two – a rural site might actually be better. 


5. Do you intend to continue working in a rural setting long term?

It remains unclear. My chief professional interest is in research and to participate in this to the fullest extent I anticipate needing to spend time geographically nearer to major universities or research institutes. But for generalist practitioners, I think career opportunities are often better in regional Australia and if my career objectives related purely to clinical practice, I suspect I would elect to remain in a regional area.


6. What do you like to do outside of work?

My free time is healthily divided between experiments in my kitchen, hiking in the rainforest, swimming holes, swim-up-bars, travelling, four different gyms, and writing this RANZCP member profile. Fortunately, the coffee shop on my street corner provides equal parts caffeine and joy, and that is enough to keep me fuelled.


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