A day in the life of a Psychiatrist
Dr Darryl-Lee works in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the Auckland (New Zealand) region, she is a Psychiatry Registrar and Medrecruit locum.
“I enjoy the privilege of being in child psychiatry and the bright, overarching attitude this enjoyment manifests in me.”
A psychiatrist's mission is to improve the mental health of their patients.
A psychiatrist's schedule often depends on their place of work. The two most common work environments for psychiatrists are hospitals and private offices. This article covers what a typical day might be like for psychiatrists in each setting.
“The myriad of challenges provoke learning and continued development that keep one young at heart and mind. Knowing that through many interventions I can make a difference, initiate effective change, and enhance mental health and resilience without stigma for children, adolescents, and their families/whanau through contribution as part of a multidisciplinary team, is exhilarating and job satisfying.”
In the hospital setting, a psychiatrist's duties often depend on where they are at with their medical training program. Typically, psychiatrists in hospitals would start the day making rounds of the ward. This would involve checking in on all the patients they are currently in charge of and checking on their progress to determine if any adjustments in their treatment need to be made.
Junior psychiatrists can often work longer hours and be on call. This is why it is important to keep health and wellbeing in mind.
“Once I understood that if I don’t look after myself I am hopeless at helping others without burning out, I made some radical changes to put my health and wellbeing as a priority" explained Darryl-lee.
She says her personal health and wellbeing “very rarely comes before work”, but has found that it can be incorporated into her every day. “I made a routine that allows me to make time for everything I need to do, making small changes and constantly reflecting on this.”
Once psychiatrists have completed their medical training they are able to work in private practice or clinics. A private practice schedule can differ greatly from that of a hospital psychiatrist. They often have the opportunity to work Monday through Friday and take weekends off. They often have a smaller group of patients and usually spend most of their time meeting with patients individually.
A typical day in the life of a private practice psychiatrist might include seeing multiple patients, looking over patients' medical records, conducting psychological evaluations, evaluating their symptoms, and taking notes on their progress. If medication is needed psychiatrists are able to write prescriptions or offer treatment suggestions. Private practice psychiatrists often have a range of other tasks that may include administrative duties and payment processing.
Dr Darryl-Lee's advice for other psychiatrists was “It’s about maintaining good habits, whilst working hard – nutrition and a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise and activities. And balancing getting out of the office and the house to spend time with family and friends.”