The demonstration of clinical competence is an essential part of becoming a psychiatrist. Acquiring this competence is not achieved once-and-for-all at the beginning of medical training but is a continued undertaking. A doctor does not learn clinical method once only early in his or her career. He or she must continually adapt to a wide variety of practice appropriate to particular settings of medical work. The medical career covers a number of stages and different competencies must be acquired at each stage. Medical students become house officers, who in turn become registrars, senior registrars and consultants. On the way they change from being undergraduates to postgraduates, narrowing their focus to a ‘specialty’ such as surgery, paediatrics, general practice or psychiatry. Because of this the study of occupational socialisation, if not socialisation in general, is not easily separated from the broader study of how social life is reproduced (Cicourel 1971). Conversely, the study of occupational socialisation reveals much about the routine reproduction of professional practice.