Halfway through my psychiatry residency, I was told to go to a new hospital in San Francisco. “You’re on consult. Meet the resident on the 9th floor at 8 am.”
So I wondered. After 2 weeks working with patients who were involuntarily admitted to the inpatient psychiatry unit, I would be working with a different population. Consult. Meaning my day would be filled with pages where the resident and I would wait for a hospitalist or resident in a different specialty to reach out to us. For depression, for delirium, or to rule out substance-abuse psychosis.
So I went to a new unit. And rather than work with patients who suffered from significant psychiatric illnesses, I worked with a completely different population. Patients who had support networks, who until recently were psychiatrically stable, patients who didn’t face the stigma of having a mental illness.
Most of the patients I saw suffered from an acute stroke, or delirium s/p medical illness. It’s interesting to see how involved psychiatry has to be for many patients. When a patient is no longer able to understand their medical treatment, psychiatry is often advised. When a patient suffers an acute insult, such as a stroke, psych is consulted for depression. They say that many patients who seek psychiatric treatment are those who are chronically ill or just suffered a major illness. It’s a big life adjustment.
No matter where you live, there are always medical professionals to help you through tough times, like suffering from a mental illness. It is advised that you do your research into finding the right professional to help you get on the right track in life. Psychologists can be good to help you understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behaviour. If you live in Sydney, Australia, you may want to look into Leo van Biene Sydney, who may be able to assist you with any worries you have relating to mental health. A job like this can be stressful, but it is also so rewarding.
So I was fortunate enough to counsel. To listen to patients. To hear their stories, to learn what their lives were like prior, and to help them adjust to a new normal. It’s humbling. It’s brave for the patients. And for them to listen to me, all because I wear a white coat, even though I don’t have the “M.D.” title yet. I am truly honored to be in this work.