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The Gift of Psych

Kendra_new_headshotKendra Campbell -- Oh my goodness, I’m quite tuckered out. I started my psych rotation last week, and I just had a full day packed with all kinds of psych goodies. I promised to share my feelings about my first clinical rotation, so here goes. To sum up everything that I’ve seen in six days on the psych ward: I am soooo in love with psych!

As I’ve mentioned before, while just out of college I worked for three years at a state psychiatric hospital. My undergrad degree was in psychology and neurobiology, so I do have some decent experiences in psych. But since leaving the field years ago, I’ve really considered going into a different specialty. I’ve recently been leaning towards emergency medicine for various reasons. However, being a “green” third year medical student, I realize that I simply don’t have enough experience to make a definite specialty decision. And I have one of those personalities where I tend to enjoy just about anything I do, so I am always suspicious when I fall in love with anything.

All that being said, man I really do love psych. The hospital that I’m rotating at is in Washington, DC, and it’s a district (DC is not a state) facility. What this means is that the patient population consists of clients with very serious mental illnesses. The facility is not a place for persons with simple psychological problems. Everyone who finds their way into the halls is extremely ill.

This patient population is exactly where my experience lies. Having worked at a state hospital, I’m very familiar with schizophrenic patients who are refractory to treatment. I’ve worked with homeless folks, and while I’m no expert, I do have experience helping those who are less fortunate.

I know I still have many rotations to complete, and I’m sure that I’ll probably change my mind a few more times. But right now, psych is certainly starting to look like a very tempting field.

The population of very ill patients really grabs my attention. Those who end up in state facilities tend to have a lot in common. They are the poor, the neglected, and the ones that have very little hope left. Often times, their friends and family have abandoned them. In the past, society has overlooked many of these unfortunate souls.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that to be able to share with these folks, to be able to help them in any way, to be able to make even the smallest impact in their life -- in my opinion, that’s one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.

June 24, 2008 in Kendra Campbell | Permalink

Comments

Dear Kendra,

I'm a 5th year medical student from Portugal and your survey about "pink hair in medical doctors" gave me some ideas that I would like to discuss with you. If possible, please do contact me by e-mail so I can explain myself better.
All the best,

Cristovao

Posted by: Cristovao Figueiredo | Jun 25, 2008 2:33:24 PM

Hi Kendra
I am on my 3rd week of a psychiatry rotation here in Cape Town, and I have also been surprised by how much the field has "grabbed" me. We are working in the male acute psychotic wards at the moment and, though it was rather daunting to start with, learning about psychiatric conditions and then seeing them in real life is fascinating. It has also made me realise that these people are really ill, and need our help and empathy, not judgement or further ostracism.
Great to read about your having a similar experience!

ps brilliant resolution to the pink hair dilemma, by the way!

Posted by: Linda | Jun 26, 2008 11:43:24 AM

Hello! I am a second year medical student at the University of Virginia. I am doing a research project this summer on blogs maintained by medical students and physicians and I have really enjoyed reading yours! I also grew up in Luray, so it's been so fun to read about your adventures. I wanted to let you know about an online journal at UVA called Hospital Drive, which can be found at http://hospitaldrive.med.virginia.edu/. I think you and your readers would really enjoy reading and perhaps even submitting material to the journal. Happy Reading!

Posted by: Maureen | Jun 27, 2008 7:39:07 AM

Hi Kendra,

I enjoy reading your blog. I remember my rotation in psych, and how draining it was emotionally. You probably have more energy than me and can withstand that much emotional suffering...Good luck to you, cuz I know i couldn't do it.

EP

Posted by: Elyas Parsa | Jun 28, 2008 2:11:58 PM

Dear Kendra,
It sounds like you are having an exciting time with psych! I am a second year whose family has been affected by mental illness for 25 or more years. I have also found psych fascinating. Keep up the good work.
Steven

Posted by: Steven | Jul 8, 2008 3:29:04 PM

Dear Kendra, you said "The population of very ill patients really grabs my attention. Those who end up in state facilities tend to have a lot in common. They are the poor, the neglected, and the ones that have very little hope left. Often times, their friends and family have abandoned them. In the past, society has overlooked many of these unfortunate souls."
This statment is really describing a situation that I was put in, but I have been fighting against this and now Iam working. With help of psychiatric torture and much more like someone did not allow my friends to answer my letters.....
I would like to share with you my experience. If you are interested write me a email.

Posted by: Isabel K. | Jul 9, 2008 4:08:33 AM

that's a disturbing comment right above

Posted by: Pavlo | Jul 9, 2008 8:36:46 AM

dear Kendra,
you sound like a great person who has good enough experience in psychiatry..am a 4 th yera medical student in india doing some project work about psychiatric hurdles face by intersex people.i'd like to get some advice regarding it.so if u have a chnce mail me to sajeekesavan@yahoo.com

Posted by: sajeevan | Jul 9, 2008 11:02:59 PM

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