September 22, 2009

The Mind Is A Beautiful Thing To Waste

So I am in the midst of my 3rd week on psychiatry, and I would be remiss if I didn't at least talk about it a bit. My duties are relegated to the locked ward in the VAMC of my city (or the "Vah" as its affectionately referred to here), which means more substance abuse, PTSD, and homelessness than you can shake a stick at. I can confidently say that I could never be a psychiatrist. I have a great deal of respect for those that enter the field, and find many of the conditions patients carry very interesting (I was a philosophy major in undergrad, what can I say?) but the pace of the field is maddening to say the least. I'm the type of person who likes to have my work and get it done in an expedient manner, but often find my days filled with dawdling waiting for x to happen. "In 15 minutes" can mean up to an hour and a half later. Especially coming off of general surgery, the adjustment has been... interesting to say the least.

Alas, I do not have any amusing psych stories yet. Just a lot of sad ones. Between the limited resources social work has to deal with, the intractable condition of many of the patient's disorders, and the high relapse rate on substance abuse, there just aren't many warm fuzzies to come about. I've been experiencing a pretty good amount of countertransference while on service, and many of the days can feel emotionally exhausting. Plus the nature of the physician-patient relationship carries a very different flavor. Sure, the hours are nice, but I just do not feel the same get-up-and-go in the morning I've felt on other services.

Unfortunately, that's about all I can say about the matter. Such is the life of the third year med student. You do some things because you like to, and you do a lot of things because you have to. 2 1/2 more weeks until I'm on family medicine, and definitely looking forward to getting back in clinic and interacting with patients on a normal playing field again.

1 comment:

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