Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Week 1: Orientation

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Week 1 of pre-residency in Psychiatry is orientation week.

We’ve been taken around the hospital, given extensive orientations on what to do, and where things are, and where to go when we’re needed there, and etc.

This morning we had a sit-down with the training officer (who, coincidentally, was a graduate of my med school, and came from my hometown). It was a very “physiologic” orientation, if I do say so myself. Or maybe psychiatrists just have that “way” of dealing with people. It was very organized and succinct, but afterwards, you’ll you got everything down pat anyway.

(One of my favorite teachers back in med school (she was a psychiatrist), was lecturing once and talked about the beauty of outlines, and organization. Psychiatry seems to be very organized and structured, it’s almost comforting. J)

We were told that the biggest makers and breakers were three things; the oral exams, the written exams and the grand rounds. The written exams were to be given in the middle of the academic year and were multiple choice questions, with items of varying degrees of difficulty (A passing grade is 75%, and if you failed, you’d have to retake it again. Once.). The oral exams was a real time interview with a psychiatric patient, chosen by a panel of 3 consultant psychiatrists of the department (Me: “…or an actor?” (laughter from everyone in the table)). They’d be grading you on how you interviewed and dealt the patient, how you come up with differential diagnoses and your treatment plan (which, most likely would be a psychotic case or maybe someone with a mood disorder, which was the usual kind of cases given to patients.)

Somehow, I’m viewing this as a challenge, because, as I’ve said over and over again, speaking in Tagalog makes me anxious. :-p Seriously, it is a hurdle I must overcome… To be perfectly honest, it’s embarrassing how big a deal of it I’m making, because everyone swears that it is a pretty simple language, and you get the hang of it if you keep speaking it.

It’s more of a…”I’m shy”, kind of thing. Years back, one of my uncles joked about how I should stick to speaking in English after hearing me talk in Tagalog. That kind of stuck…and besides, we hardly talk in Tagalog where I’m from. I can understand it perfectly of course, but I don’t have an extensive a vocabulary as I’d like to. And I sound…funny. I think. Or different. And people can tell, but I don’t think they’re going to mind very much, as long as I can be understood. (The accent issues are mine alone. Nobody else cares, I think. LOL)

It’s not helping that my co-preresidents talk in English when we’re together as a group most of the time, too. :-p They’re very cool people, actually. That’s a pic of us on one of our lunches-out together. Everybody brings something to the table, it’s a shame really that since there were only 4 slots to be filled, one of us 5 has to go (we’re going to be ranked accordingly after our tenure as pre-residents). That’s a big heartbreak for whoever gets…well, gets booted. 

Still, there’s the promise of something. Since there were other programs with slots that wouldn’t be filled (i.e. Family Medicine has 15 slots, but only 2 applicants), so the training officer offered that if we were all going to perform really well and be in top shape as pre-residents, he’s going to personally go to the Chairman of the hospital to give the program an extra slot so all five of us would be accommodated. Which would be, undoubtedly, PHYSIOLOGIC. J haha. * fingers crossed *

Speaking of heartbreak, there’s a quote from Andre Agassi’s book (Open) that I especially like, because I can relate;

“ We are like blocks of stone… blows of His chisel which hurt us so much are what make us perfect.”

(Actually, I wanted the one about how a broken heart was about shooting pains in your chest that hurt endlessly, like a wound that never healed. Why so? Because that’s what it feels like. And I don’t want to keep having that feeling again. So…I hope everything goes well.).



  1. "Great post, very useful for a beginner like me"



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