My Psychiatry and Neurology Clerkship Experience

Long time, no blog post! Since I last posted, I have finished up my first clerkship, continued wedding planning, did an OnlineMedEd insta takeover, and have enjoyed life post-step 1!

I wanted to take the time to write about my experiences in psychiatry and neurology for a couple of reasons. One, I want to share my experiences with you all and hear about yours as well. Two, I want to look back and remember things I liked and didn’t like when choosing my future specialty.

At my school, we have 6 weeks of psychiatry and 2 weeks of neurology bundled up in one clerkship. We have the option of substituting a different specialty in place of neurology, such as anesthesia or emergency. I chose to keep neurology in its place because I loved our neuro course back in first year and was considering this as a specialty.

Without further ado, here are some quick bullets on things i learned, experienced, liked, and disliked about both psychiatry and neurology!

P S Y C H I A T R Y
likes:

  • The residents loved their job and life! They were amazing teachers, fun to be around, and made the med students feel welcomed.
  • I enjoyed my time on psych consults where the psych team would be called for any issue within the hospital. This could be on the floor or in the emergency room. I was especially interested in seeing the acutely psychiatric ill patients in the emergency room.

dislikes:

  • The mood disorders and personality disorders took a toll on me emotionally. I was so fatigued at the end of each day because I was so invested into the patient’s mental health and well being.
  • Many of the disorders within psychiatry will go untreated or it will take a very long time to find the right treatment. Patience is needed in this specialty.
  • I seemed to get bored with only patient interviewing. I really missed using my hands.

what I learned:

  • Mental health does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about your gender, race, body shape, or hobbies. Anyone in the world can be battling their own mental health disorder.
  • The stigma against mental health does exist – BUT, there are many amazing movements out there to fight it. In my state, there are more rehab places being build for substance use disorders. There are also many movements on social media to increase awareness of the variety of mental disorders out there.
  • Electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) is a real and extremely helpful treatment for refractory depression! When I first heard of ECT, I pictured One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but I was WAY off. It takes a couple of cycles of treatment, but when it works, it dramatically improves the patient’s life.

N E U R O L O G Y
likes:

  • My week on the stroke service was AWESOME. I loved the fast paced feeling, the urgency of a stroke page. Getting called down to the ER or getting called to a patient’s room was very exhilarating because if you treat a stroke quickly, it can be life-changing.
  • The residents were outstanding!!! (I am hoping this is a “like” for every rotation I do) They took time to teach me and made me feel like an important member of the team.
  • I loved how procedural neurology was. I literally got to do a lumbar puncture… WHAT!

dislikes:

  • Neurology is surprisingly so broad. There is neuromuscular, headaches, stroke, critical care, movement disorders, concussions… The list goes on. It sort of pushes me in the direction of being more specialized from the get-go than being a jack of all trades… but who knows πŸ™‚
  • I didn’t enjoy some of the outpatient side where patient visits were scheduled for an hour.

what I learned:

  • Strokes are detrimental and can have CRAZY presentations. You really have to be on your toes and always suspicious.
  • The field of neurology has an exciting future in the treatments of many of the autoimmune disorders like myasthenia gravis or multiple sclerosis. So many treatments to be excited for!

 

Next up: family medicine!

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