One of the first lessons I learned in medical school is that there is no right way to do things. Before medical school, I knew that I wanted to work with minority communities, but had not decided on a specialty. During my pre-clinical years, I realized that nothing particularly stood out to me. I entered third year hoping that some specialty would rise above the rest.
I was fortunate in my third-year because I had my internal medicine rotation, and saw what I thought a “typical doctor” looked like, and my psychiatry clerkship close together. While I enjoyed the team dynamic I felt on my internal medicine rotation, I was more drawn towards the patients that had complex psychological needs. By the time I finished my eight weeks, I realized that internal medicine was not for me. However, there were aspects that I enjoyed and would love to incorporate in my future career.
“The field of psychiatry encourages its trainees to dig deeper, look harder, and heal creatively.”Dr. Patricia Oby Ekwueme, Contributor, Med Student Edge
My psychiatry rotation was some of the best weeks of my third-year experience. I loved learning about the various psychiatric diagnoses and how they can manifest so differently in people, necessitating personalized treatment plans. I enjoyed hearing people’s stories and seeing how aspects of their personal lives were being intertwined into their pathology. Psychiatry was one of the fields that truly understood the value of learning about and caring for the whole person. The field of psychiatry encourages its trainees to dig deeper, look harder, and heal creatively. It was easy for me to decide on psychiatry and even easier for me to incorporate my original career goals into this specialty.
Now that I am in residency, I am even more affirmed in my decision to enter the field of psychiatry; especially with everything that is going on in this country and in the world. Mental health is often overlooked and under-emphasized, but it is so important in the future of an individual, a community, and a country. I am excited to see the changes that will shape the way clinicians operate in the years to come.
Are you interested in psychiatry? Leave a comment for more information about the field.