Archive for tag: behavioral health

What a Week

How's everybody doing? It's Week 12 of the tri--4 weeks left (including this one we're starting).

Well, it's no secret to those close to me that I've had a really hard time focusing this tri. There've been sooo many distractions. I'm convinced that it's also this time of year that makes this tri so difficult--last year at this time I was struggling as well. Perhaps it's the wanderlust of summer, or the fact that we're perpetually in class. I'm not sure. Regardless, I'll be glad when this Tri is over.

I've been working really hard to try to keep my wits about me. At some point, I think it's common for all students to get discouraged--whether we feel like we've been in school for 4 million years, are burnt out from studying all the time, need a break, or have Life intervene. It's OK to have times like this.

I've taken a few trips, gotten involved in some outside activities apart from school, and spent time doing things other than school and studying. This past week/weekend, I participated in a gathering of Kindred Spirits--kind of like a family reunion near Asheville, NC. There were about 2,500 people there. Anytime there's a gathering of that size, there has to be an infrastructure. We have our own staff: medical, behavioral medicine, "law" enforcement, etc.--all based on volunteers. I have been to this event before and I usually volunteer for the medical staff. This time, I volunteered for behavioral medicine--which was amazing. I did end up filling in for some of the medical staff (with certifications in first aid, etc.), but the behavioral stuff--counseling and talking to people, was amazing. There were times when it was a comfort to people who just knew that we were there, holding space, should they need something or someone to talk to. I love being able to give back.

I was able to reconnect with friends that I'd not seen in years. There were local people there that I didn't know would be there--and we were able to reconnect. I made new friends and new connections that I will probably carry with me for the rest of my life. Some of these people may be my patients later on. Some may be my colleagues. Some are now just Family.

After such an amazing experience this weekend, I have to refocus myself for finals (and boards). I hope that I will be able to find that focus, and use my joy from the weekend, my beautiful experiences with so many people, and my newfound connections, to feed my Soul and keep me going.

What do you need to stay inspired?

Let's Play "Air Orchestra!"

REVERSE PICKPOCKET!

Student Stress

Hey Everybody! I've had several great emails come in with questions. Thanks for contacting me. I hope that all the information that I've sent back has been helpful. I think there's one outstanding email left. I'll be getting back to you shortly. For those reading, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

I find myself struggling with what to write today. At some point, I feel like I've said everything--and then again, I couldn't even begin to list what all I've done in the last week. It would take me 7 days. I'm losing track of the days as we pass midterms and look towards finals and boards. I seem to get more and more busy when I have less and less actual time. There are really only a couple of weeks before finals start as the summer winds down both quickly and slowly.

As of Wednesday, I'll be childless for a few weeks. The boys will be visiting their grandparents in the Midwest, and the house will be VERY quiet. This should be time to prep for finals, and start studying for boards. Maybe I'll get the rest of the house unpacked or just sit quietly in the middle of the living room doing absolutely nothing. As their summer comes to a close and they try to drain that last drop of freedom, I start looking forward to those two weeks off between tris.

I've talked to several of my classmates, and some in the other classes. All of those great plans for starting to study for boards have been replaced by trying to keep sanity and study for midterms and finals. Board review starts this next week. During our tri break, I'm sure we'll all be studying for boards. But right now, I've only dusted off my question book. Just for fun, I flipped to one question, answered it, and checked my answer. Then I closed the book and went back to something else.

The last exam we have this week before finals is in GI/GU and then there's a paper in Botanical Medicine next week. I can't believe how little time there is left.

I've had some ideas about students' behavioral health after receiving an article from a friend that was written by an anonymous Harvard student. Here's a link to the article: "In Sight, Out of Mind."

I keep wondering what our capacity is for counseling, or dealing with behavioral issues at all. As physicians, I know we'll be faced with people in a lot of trying situations, but two questions/issues came to mind after reading this article: Taking care of each other, and taking care of our patients.

Just like the author of the article, so many of our students could benefit from counseling or at the very least peer counseling. Going through medical school is tough. It seems that more people have problems with their personal lives that cause difficulties with their studies--than have difficulties with their studies alone. I'm not sure that we have the resources here, yet, to set up some type of peer counseling--but I think that we'd benefit from it. While we have the clinic in place, I'm sure that few people attend our clinic for behavioral health issues. This brings me to the other question--what do we do when we have patients that come in with a behavioral health issue?

Are we equipped enough (or confident enough) to work with patients with conditions like depression, anxiety, neurotransmitter imbalances, schizophrenia, and others? I've heard time and time again that we should probably refer these patients, but we're in the unique position as trusted providers to help. Can we? Will we?

Feel free to write me with your thoughts on this. I'd love to read and hear them.

Until the next adventure, have a great week!