is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McMaster University
“Doctors are jerks.” It was a statement that I had always steadfastly believed to be true; a matter-of-fact statement, just like saying the sky is blue. Though I had no shortage of concrete personal examples to justify my belief, the irony was not lost on me as I stared out from behind the glass of the nursing station, ready to begin my first clinical experience as a new medical student.
I was in the child and adolescent psychiatric ward. From the nursing station, I could see the ward’s common area: the bolted-down tables and chairs, the colourful pictures adorning the walls, the patients scattered about the room—some in groups, some alone. It was a scene that was familiar, yet different. This was far from my first time in a psych ward, but it was my first time being on this side of the glass. ...continue reading →
Mohamad Matout is a Psychiatry Resident (R1) at McGill University
The debate regarding what should future doctors be learning during medical school is sensitive and convoluted. During the four years in which students learn basic sciences and acquire basic clinical knowledge, due to lack of time, little is taught with regards to major topics such as nutrition1, lifestyle changes, oral health2 and basic computer literacy3. One could argue that psychology is another field in which future physicians lack structured education. Our curriculum is usually centred around understanding the biology of pathophysiology and, when possible, the neurobiology of psychopathologies. While we may be introduced to the area of psychology and an understanding of pathologic defense mechanisms, the world of psychotherapy remains mysterious to medical students and physicians in general. ...continue reading →
Ronald Leung is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at McMaster University
“I think I’m dying,” one of my patients says to me one day. We stop, halting in the middle of the hallway of the inpatient acute psychiatry unit that leads toward the interview rooms in the back. She takes in my expression of concern and waves it away. “Not like that,” she laughs, launching into a monologue on the philosophical fragility of human existence. She is articulate beyond her years, just entering the second decade of her life.
She also reminds me of Jude. Despite the disparities in their age and appearance—she is a petite millennial with a distinct sense of style in contrast to middle-aged Jude with his crisp oxford shirts—the same strings seem to reverberate when they speak. ...continue reading →
Jason Gencher is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto
Today is the day. I have waited six months for today. I’m so tired, I can barely get myself out of bed. What time is it? I’m so hungry. Those Timbits look old, but I’m too hungry to care about that. I’m so tired — maybe I’ll go back to sleep? Don’t I have something to do today? Why is there this weird taste in my mouth? What she’s saying is all lies. There’s no truth in it all. They say things about me, but it’s all a big lie. One giant lie. When did I get this fat? It’s because of the medication. I used to be slim and athletic. But now I have circulation problems. It’s the medications they give me. ...continue reading →
Sarah Chauvin is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Toronto
Collateral. Collateral. Collateral. Three weeks in a psychiatric Emergency Department, and I have more than a mere appreciation for collateral: I’ve come to understand it as a key diagnostic investigation.
Toward the end of my weekend call shift, my young patient with severe alcohol use disorder and borderline personality disorder — who had been discharged the week prior with an addictions referral — was back in the ED for alcohol intoxication. Though I had been cautioned that the patient would likely return, I was disappointed to see her name back on the patient-tracking list. ...continue reading →
Barbara Sibbald, News and Humanities editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reads the CMAJ Humanities Encounters article "Words, deeds and interpretations". The article is written by Dr. Mary Seeman, professor emerita, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
In the article, Dr. Seeman, an older psychiatrist, recounts how acting instead of talking can net rather dire results. The events are true but happened decades ago.
is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK.
I have just read - or, should I say, it completely captivated me. I couldn’t put it down. What a compelling life story. When you lectured about depression at those Masterclass lectures I chaired years ago I was so impressed with your grasp of the topic, your understanding of the difficulties facing family doctors, and your overall approach to managing the condition. You had such a clear understanding and appreciation of depression and the difficulties of treating it in practice. And, you were so assured, confident, on top of your subject. I had chaired many similar sessions but yours were outstanding. There wasn’t even the slightest hint that your understanding extended so far into your personal experience. ...continue reading →
Peter Uhlmann is a semi-retired psychiatrist from Powell River, BC. He works as a locum consultant psychiatrist to several Northern communities.
In 2004 I started providing psychiatric locum service to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories. I worked in the local mental health centre and also on the psychiatric ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital. Later I travelled to three other communities; Hay River, Ft Smith, and Ft Simpson. For a few years I served those three communities on a regular basis every three to four months. As well as seeing patients, I would provide in service to health providers and education to community agencies. In 2006, I began working in four Inuit communities in Nunavut, specifically in the Kitikmeot region. I would service Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Gjoa Haven, and Cambridge Bay. I still travel to these communities twice a year, and provide back up consultation via telehealth, telephone, or email. ...continue reading →