Saturday, February 17, 2007

When I grow up, I wanna be a . . .


In case you haven't read this, the posters at Shrink Rap have posted some wonderful comments about why they love their jobs as psychiatrists. If you are at all interested in the field (or are wondering why the hell somebody would want to work in psychiatry) then it is well worth a bit of a read.

Psychiatry is up there as one of my top areas to work in when I finish medical school. It is an area that has always interested me, ever since I read Tell Me I'm Here by Anne Deveson about her family's experience of schizophrenia when her son develops the disease. Mental illness is a fascinating and terrible thing, and I love the idea of helping people who are suffering from it's debilitating effects, finding some way to return them to a normal and functional life.

Yes, I am well aware of the reputation psychiatric staff have. "When you go to visit, you aren't sure which ones are the staff and which ones are the patients," and "No sane people do psychiatry" are two of the typical things that people say about psychiatrists. The other one I hate is that people who go into psychiatry supposedly do it because they are either no good at any other kind of medicine or that they are in it because it is an easy life. We'll see.

I'm not going to go in starry-eyed, expecting to love every minute of it. (Honestly, there is no job like that in the known world.) If I find I hate it, that is ok too. I'm not doing a medical degree because I want to specifically become a psychiatrist. However, it has a lot of the things I am looking for (being able to schedule your day a little better than ED, some continuity of care, reasonably regular hours, the opportunity for meaningful interaction with patients - I love listening to and talking with patients!) as well as being an area that I have always been fascinated by.

Time will tell. But as I go further into the medical course, the prospect of actually being able to become a psychiatrist is getting more and more exciting for me.

(And as a completely different side-note - I recently received a request form from an ED doctor with the word "pleaz" written at the bottom. Seriously. God help us all.)


D. said...

Have you done a rotation in psychiatry yet?

I think that sorts most people into clear cut categories of love it or hate it. Hopefully it turns out to be what you expect. The patients often have the best stories, and for me, psychiatry was the first (and only) rotation to have 9.00AM sit down ward rounds. Very civilized.


Roy said...

Thanks for the referral to Shrink Rap. I agree with D. The rotation is what clinched it for me.

Also, when you get to 4th year, consider a consultation-liaison elective.

The Girl said...

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.

I'm looking forward to my first rotation in psychiatry - I am sure that I will decide rather quickly whether it is for me or not.

For now I just have to be content with what we are learning (the basics of everything) and the fact that I'll know sooner rather than later if it is for me or not.