Psychiatry Favorites

Psychiatry. My third rotation. I went into Psychiatry not knowing what to expect. I was honestly, however, shocked at how much I liked it. I loved how much I got to interact with patients and the treatment teams during this rotation. In the mornings, we saw all of the pediatric patients and discussed how we should best treat their disorders (ranging from MDD, GAD, PTSD, ADHD) with medication and psychotherapy. It is always important to remember that dosing for children and adolescents will be different than dosing for adults. This seems like a given but it is also very easy to forget.

I definitely like the lifestyle that psychiatrists have but I think what I noticed about myself is that I love anything that has to do with kids. Even on my previous rotations, I’ve noticed I feel the most joy when working with and around kids. I love the energy and spirit that children possess.

The most important thing that I have gained from my rotation is that it is important to pay attention to psychiatric health just as one pays attention to physical health. As a primary care doctor, I will be doing lots of initial psych treatment in the outpatient setting. It is also important to know when and how to refer a patient to a psychiatrist for special and specific treatment.

I will also say that I loved this rotation more than I ever expected and it was my favorite month so far. I never thought that I would love something (other than pediatrics) so much. I gained an appreciation for psychiatric care for kids right on up to geriatric patients and I have a special place for it in my heart. In complete honesty, I really really loved my time during psychiatry. I became very sad during my last week because I knew that I would miss it. I even, for a bit, considered changing my life plans and becoming a psychiatrist. There are some things that I took into account as I thought, however. I worry about running into psychiatric patients outside of the hospital and actually am fearful of the “angry/dangerous” psychiatric patient. I saw a wide range of people and patients during my month-long rotation and I know that not every patient is like this but I did witness some people who are more violent than others. I believe that every one of those patients deserves the best care but I feel that my skills would best be utilized in other ways.

Because this still is school, I feel the need to tell you all that I used Case Files and COMQUEST questions to study for my COMAT!

Be sure to read all about studying for COMAT/Shelf exams here!

Psychiatry Tips:

  1. Utilize DSM IV AND DSM V; terms from both will be used clinically.
  2. Keep a drug list handy with “translations”; trade names to generic.
  3. Learn the diagnosis criteria for ODD, DMDD, MDD, and BP early on.
  4. Listen to everyone but remember to use a grain of salt whenever pulling out your “trusting cap.” Patients can lie.
  5. Never ever everrrrrr be ashamed of asking the hard questions (especially about suicide and abuse).
  6. Lastly, if you’re reading this and are going through a rough time, know that it’s ok to be sad. It doesn’t make you weak. It’s actually an asset to be able to admit that you need help.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
Medschool Blues

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