Career Story: Psychiatrist


Job Title: Psychiatrist

Type of Company: Provide health care and promote healthy living through an integrated health care delivery system

Education: BS - University of Notre Dame •• MD - Northwestern University Medical School •• Residency Training - University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

Previous Experience: I've been with current multi-specialty medical group for 17 years

Job Tasks: My primary role is to provide comprehensive psychiatric evaluations and follow up care for individuals seeking mental health evaluations. I see patients individually, in group settings, as well as providing ongoing care via telephone and email correspondence.

I use an electronic medical record; in that record I write notes on patient visits, and respond to the contacts that are initiated by patients, including phone, visits, email, prescription refill requests and lab/X-ray results. Taken in total, we talk about that part of the job as "desktop medicine." Desktop medicine now consumes about the same amount of time as the direct contact with patients!! Patients like the convenience of getting things done without having to come in for an appointment or wait around for a phone call. I also like getting things done in a timely way. And I hope it means people are more likely to attend to their health needs quickly and feel better as soon as possible!

I also serve as a leader of my team of mental health care providers.

In addition to direct patient care responsibilities, I have the privilege of educating colleagues about customer service and communication skills. I work with individuals and departments.\

I work about 60 hours per week, 12 hours a day M-F, and then sometime on the week ends too.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best: it is a privilege to be part of a constantly changing, challenging environment. I am passionate about helping people and I believe that's a necessary job requirement to be in this field!

Worst: long hours and serious business. It means that I have not ever mastered the idea of a dinner hour. I also wonder if it's reinforced a style in me of being one who's more serious and task driven. I actively work at developing and including light-hearted activities and hobbies in my life to try to keep a balance.

Job Tips: Make sure that you are passionate about serving others and taking care of people. Take classes that develop your communication skills, get you to know your own blind spots, develop your leadership ability, e.g., take a drama class and both act in a play and work on the stage set. Join the debate club or "toastmasters" (community). Practice giving talks until you are comfortable with all the elements you need to hone your message, know your audience, and be effective.

Self- discovery: know yourself, your priorities, and live your life aligned with the rank order of those priorities.

Additional Thoughts: Commit to healthy lifestyle for yourself. "The fundamentals" I consider are: commitment to daily routine for healthy food (mostly vegetables, lean meats, and not processed), sleep (same time each night), and exercise (60 minutes/day)

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