Friday, January 30, 2009

Me and my motor mouth - I spoke too soon!

Whoops! Today was awesome, and I really enjoyed it. Even though the patients are very ill, they (for the most part) are friendly and I like talking to them. I think we need to be more proactive, and this week I have probably been more guilty of the "student huddle" than I have ever been in the past. (We weren't as bad as I have encountered as a staff member working around medical students, but still . . .) This changed, as of today, and as a result we got a LOT more out of the day, and plan to continue on like this in the future.

One thing that I find fantastic about psychiatry is that you don't consider the aspects of their illness or personality in isolation. It needs to be considered in the full context of their life - personal history, health, family history, genetics, support networks, coping skills, life stressors and so on and so forth. It really is a wonderful way to look at a person, and I love the way that it allows you to see them as a WHOLE person and not just a walking example of a DSM-IV category.
I have always been a sucker for a complex story, and psychiatry is really getting stories out of people for a living, so I suspect that as I get better at the interview and see more professionals do it, I will enjoy it more and more. 
I think that to understand patients (and indeed everybody in your life) properly, you have to see them as multi-faceted people who have both positive/healthy and negative/pathological traits, and who have the capacity to change (some more than others) with work and guidance. Everybody has potential to live a more comfortable and happy life, and I think that is something worth striving for.

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