While not steeped in the same romanticism as graduating medical school and starting as a newly minted intern, the transition from PGY1 to PGY2 feels, in many ways, just as pivotal. To your patients, you are no longer “the medical intern on the care team”. You are your patient’s psychiatrist. (Dramatic pause). And with that comes a whole lot of new things: more responsibility (e.g. you being the sole psychiatrist on call for a 180 bed psych hospital), more skills to learn (e.g. embarking into the world of psychodynamics), and also, more free stuff (e.g. prescription pads with your name on it: classy!).
At the end of my intern year, I was excited to be transitioning. Finally — after years of schooling and being told (figuratively) to “hold on, just do this one last tangentially-educational experience” the moment had arrived for me to do what I had wanted to do all along. At the same time, I was anxious. What if I don’t actually like psychiatry? What if I’m no good at it?
I can say that 3 months into my second year, the shoe fits! Part of this, I think, is by design. I’m on my McLean Potpourri block (geriatrics, child, addictions), and while its express purpose is to teach core principles of managing special populations, the secret subtext is that everyone is trying to recruit you into their subspecialty. This fact means that attendings are eager to teach and to involve you in the most interesting cases in the hopes of wooing you into their fellowship!
Psychiatry is an incredible field. Part of the reason I decided to pursue psychiatry is that growing up, I (perhaps like you) found myself gravitating not towards the hip kids, but the misfits. Within psychiatry, I have a particular connection to patients with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders. Psychosis is both intellectually fascinating and personally affecting, and there are so many unanswered questions to explore. Is schizophrenia one or many diseases? How do antipsychotics work, and how can we improve upon them? Can schizophrenia be prevented? Why does it tend to affect the most disenfranchised in society? All these questions I find compelling, and have the opportunity to investigate them during residency with faculty members from MGH, McLean, Harvard Medical School and other institutions as a member of the Research Concentration Program.
I am Canadian! Which means a couple things. I have to, by creed, end all of my sentences in an apology. Sorry about that. Also, I am not allowed to make a left turn before the light turns yellow. And I always have a pair of snow pants at the ready -- just in case. But even though I'm Canadian at heart, I love the city of Boston! It has the offerings of a larger city but without all of the big city frustrations (terrible driving is an exception however -- that is a very prominent part of Boston culture). One of my absolute favorite things to do is to assemble a bunch of my fellow psych interns and eat ice cream at Toscanini's. They have something called affogato which is ice cream bathed in espresso, which not only tastes amazing, but keeps you awake all night so that you can eat more ice cream!