Friday, September 7, 2012

Psychiatry - Slow Start.

I don't know why, but I'm quite prone to having slow starts on placements. So I've had my first week in psychiatry and to be honest...I've stepped onto the "wards" for about 5 minutes and then left. I don't know if I should be happy about the placement or a bit annoyed. We've got a lot of free time on the placement and seeing how exams are coming up - it gives us a great opportunity to revise. But at the same time...when I did go on the ward and ask if there's anyone I can see or anything I can do - the staff said that there's nothing to do here and told me to go get a cup of coffee. For the rest of the week - I spent my time in half-day clinics with my consultant. Luckily he is very chill and really good at teaching (if asked to teach). The nice bit is that there is a mutual understanding between the two of us. He has established that I do not want to do psychiatry and fairly indifferent about it. He said he will leave me alone BUT will teach if I have any questions or want any teaching. On top of that, he clearly listed out my learning objectives and what he does expect for me to have completed by the end of the attachment - which was pretty easy/fair. I know what my consultant expects and I don't see it being a struggle. He's also extremely nice which is a nice bonus.

I haven't really met any patients with full blown mental illness. All the patients I have seen were follow up patients who have their symptoms under control and doing fairly okay. Somehow due to my luck, I managed to miss the two new patients I was supposed to see in the week so I can see how patients present to the psychiatric team. For the first new patient, I only managed to stay for half the consultation as I had a doctor's appointment. Then in the next clinic, I ended up being 30 minutes late and missed the new patient as I got lost. Was really annoyed with it as apparently that patient was very interesting.

To be honest though, I don't mind this placement! I'm actually enjoying it as it is fairly easy and not very stressful. My schedule is very flexible and essentially to get good at psychiatry is to just speak to a lot of people (which I haven't exactly done as I'm having an extremely slow week). Despite having a slow week, I am learning a lot as everything is new so that's a bonus. So far all the consultants I've met are also very nice and chill, but they claim they should be chilled out as they know stress is a factor for suicide...

Hopefully next week will go a bit better and hopefully I'll be a bit more productive!


  1. Be brave! Go onto your ward and ask one of the nurses for a patient appropriate to clerk. Generally there aren't jobs that you can do on the psych wards- so it is more just history taking.
    Clerking patients is definitely the best way to get your head around it all, especially as the psych clerking is so different from the medical one!

  2. 5 minute days? Who said medical school was hard :D