One good thing about doing anything for three decades or longer is that you get to see cycles and repeated events, things that fail and things that work. I hope that over the last thirty years of learning about psychiatry and mental health (and yes, I am still learning and hope to acquire that one last little piece of knowledge on my deathbed) that I have paid attention to the ...

Read more...

As a psychiatrist, I was trained to begin the mental status examination and overall assessment of my patient as soon as I greeted them in the waiting room. Even now, three decades after finishing medical school, I follow almost the same sequence of actions in my day-to-day interactions with my patients that I did as a resident in training. Granted, there are now electronic medical records and I rarely come ...

Read more...

We’re all waiting for something. As kids, we waited for the time that we could do it ourselves, go it alone, tie our own shoelaces, order our own food off the menu, take our baths by ourselves, and walk up and down the street or around the mall without parental supervision. We were kids. We didn’t yet have enough life experience or enough insight to realize that the time we occupied, ...

Read more...

I had had a long day yesterday, starting with a trip up the interstate to Columbia to meet with other medical chiefs from around the state of South Carolina to discuss the issues that affect the practice of psychiatry in the mental health system today. We had struggled with the electronic medical record, Medicare paybacks, e-prescribing, CPT coding, content of notes, billing time, and motivating our medical staffs to accept the ...

Read more...

I was a junior medical student, wearing a short white coat, pockets stuffed with reflex hammer and spiral bound Washington Manual of Therapeutics, rubber tourniquet and pens and pads. I was on a rotation out at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. DDEAMC was not too far from my home away from home, the Medical College of Georgia. I think I was in the OB-GYN clinic ...

Read more...

It happened out of the blue, as such experiences often do. I had parked my car and was walking a short distance from the public parking deck on a covered concrete sidewalk, past the open expanse of lawn and twinkling Christmas lights in front of the hospital. I was going to visit a friend who had just had surgery, and it had been quite some time since I had been in ...

Read more...

“I don’t get no respect!” -Rodney Dangerfield He was a little guy, munching on the taco lunch that his mother had brought into my office for him, his younger sister and herself. I was a little miffed, I won’t lie, that the family knew they had an appointment with me right after lunch, but they decided to make the appointment itself lunch. I tried to concentrate on my interview questions and assessment, shredded lettuce ...

Read more...

I have been visiting different sites and having staff meetings with different groups of clinicians since I came back to my psychiatric services chief job recently. I have noticed something that is very important to the smooth operation of a mental health center, and most likely any health care facility you might look at. In order to do the best job possible and help the most people who need us, we ...

Read more...

Once upon a time I saw a patient for followup, a woman I had seen for several visits in the past. She had voiced the usual oft-heard complaints about insomnia, changes in appetite, lack of energy, diminished interest in pleasurable activities, and other associated symptoms of chronic depression. Most of these had been addressed and had gotten at least partially better, to the point that her overall quality of life ...

Read more...

I love football. There is one thing that I absolutely believe to be true about the sport I love. Any given team can beat any other team on any given day. Sometimes my love of sports and the little metaphors that sprout from it spill over into my workspace as well. At the end of each shift I work in telepsychiatry, one of the last things I do is complete an electronic log of ...

Read more...

4 Pages