First Day of Psychiatry

For the next two months, I’ll be hearing the most intimate details of my patients’ lives. I will come across those who have lost their grip on reality, those in a situation so dire that they prefer death over life, those who are dependent on substances like alcohol for day-to-day living, and those who are simply looking for a way out of life’s insurmountable struggles – I will take on the role of a psychiatrist.

We began today with an orientation lasting from 8:30 am to noon at the BCM Medical Building. The group of roughly thirty core psychiatry students was given a walk-through of major psychiatric conditions, how to keep ourselves and our patients safe, and how to conduct a good psychiatric interview. We then proceeded to our respective hospital assignments.

This part was always tough for me during internal medicine… that “first meeting” with the attending. Would it be the nightmarish attending? Would they even know my name by the last week of the rotation? Would I say something dumb right off the bat? I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I lucked out with an incredible one! Despite her hectic outpatient clinical schedule, she took the time to give me a tour of the psych ward, asked me what I expect to get from this rotation, outlined how we will proceed from here, and consistently reassured me that this is a learning experience so asking questions is highly encouraged. Furthermore, it seems that I’ll be working a lot more directly with the attending than I ever did during internal medicine, where interns were my primary teachers. It’s shaping up to be a good month at the VA Comprehensive Mental Health Program (CMHP). I hope to learn a lot and provide comfort to as many patients as possible! 🙂

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