Original Article

Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 270-276

First online:

Current Perspectives on Chief Residents in Psychiatry

  • Christopher H. WarnerAffiliated withThird Infantry DivisionDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin Email author 
  • , James RachalAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Ehrling Berquist Air Force Hospital
  • , Jill BreitbachAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Womack Army Medical Center
  • , Michael HigginsAffiliated with436th Medical Group
  • , Carolynn WarnerAffiliated withDepartment of Family Practice, Winn Army Community Hospital
  • , William BoboAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



The authors examine qualitative data from outgoing chief residents in psychiatry from the 2004–2005 academic year to 1) determine common characteristics between programs, 2) examine the residents’ perspectives on their experiences, and 3) determine their common leadership qualities.


The authors sent out self-report surveys via e-mail to 89 outgoing chief residents who attended the APA/Lilly Chief Resident Executive Leadership Program.


Fifty-three (60%) chief residents responded. Although most chief residents are senior residents, over 20% are in their third postgraduate year. Two-thirds of programs have more than one chief resident each year. Most chief residents believe that their “participating” leadership style, existing leadership skills, and interpersonal skills contributed to their overall positive experiences.


Successfully performing duties as a chief resident entails functioning in a variety of roles and demands attention to leadership qualities of the individual. Developing existing leadership skills, clarifying expectations, and providing mentorship to chief residents will ensure successful transition into practice and the advancement of the field of psychiatry.