The Dutch Association of Psychiatric Trainees (‘Subvereniging Assistenten Psychiatrie’ or SAP) is one of the departments of the Dutch Psychiatric Association. It was formed in the 60’s when psychiatry as a profession became independent from neurology. It has over 500 members and represents the interests of all psychiatric trainees in the Netherlands. Our aim is to both inform our trainees about their education, work, legislature and the profession in general; but also to unite as trainees and strive to improve these by being a part of all major decisions within Dutch psychiatry.
We achieve this by holding national meetings every month to discuss current issues relevant to our education and profession, but also to discuss societal and/or political issues. These meetings are open to any trainee, and we regularly invite notable guest speaker to discuss relevant topics with us. Fortunately, as the Netherlands are small we usually see all parts of the country well represented. Each institution has at least one “deputy” who is the primary spokesperson for that institution, and provides input or feedback on their behalf. We communicate the transcripts and highlights of every meeting to our members through e-mail and social media to help keep everyone up to date on current affairs.
We have a lot of active members that take part within nearly all other departments and committees of the Dutch Psychiatric Association (for example committees on quality of education, addiction, transcultural psychiatry and many others) and other organizations (such as the EFPT). As equal members within all committees we have a way to inform and act on key issues for trainees across the entire discipline, and our input is always valued highly by the departments. For some matters important to our education, we also take the initiative and do research and write proposals that reflect how we want to shape the future of our training.
For our members, we also regularly organise events. Twice a year we have a “SAPdag” which is a full day with many guest speakers, workshops and debates usually tied to a specific subject. These days are always well attended and many institutions have made it a requirement for their trainees. At the yearly conference of the Dutch Psychiatric Association, we also have our own events, debate panels and a psychiatry-themed pubquiz.
Overall, we have come a long way since the 60’s, and as the SAP are respected and valued by our parent organization. The only way we are able to do all this is through our active members, who spent a lot of their valuable time and energy every month in creating an even better psychiatry and psychiatric training in the Netherlands.
By Peter Mulders