After finishing my OB/GYN rotation, I started my psychiatry rotation. I was assigned to the inpatient psychiatry unit at a neighboring hospital, which has been quite the experience so far.
Coming off of 11 hour days and almost 60 hour work weeks on OB/GYN, the relatively shorter days were welcomed with open arms: I am usually only at the hospital from 9 AM to 4 or 5 PM most days. However, I’ve found the work on psychiatry to be exhausting!
I’ve been amazed by the stories that patients have shared with me and the hardships they have each lived through. To listen intently for hours is fascinating, but at the same time, it is extremely mentally emotionally draining. Although I start my days later and end my days earlier each day compared to my last rotation, I find my heart to be heavy when I leave the hospital. Long after my day is done, I wonder and worry and think about the patient with alcohol abuse problems who refused inpatient rehabilitation treatment and who was discharged earlier that day and the young college student with newly diagnosed schizophrenia.
I think the act of separating yourself from work is necessary in all fields, but perhaps especially in the field of psychiatry. It’s something I haven’t quite mastered yet, but something I’m learning more and more about with each passing day and that will be important for me in whatever field of medicine I choose to go into.