This week, to help celebrate and bring attention to World Mental Health day, we recently interviewed one of our locum Psychiatry doctors to learn more about mental health and locuming.
What does a day at work for a Psychiatry consultant look like?
As a locum Psychiatrist a day normally would be attending the handover from the nursing staff between 8am and 9am. They tell the multidisciplinary team about every patient on the ward and if any significant changes have occurred in their mental state overnight. You would then go and assess any new admissions with a nurse and registrar and make a management plan for that patient. You would also see patients that needed a review , attend family meetings and supervise registrars. You also may teach medical students who are attached to your team.
What do you like about your profession?
I like Psychiatry as everyone’s story is unique. You are able to spend more time with patients than a specialty like general surgery. I also like working as part of a multi disciplinary team including nurses, social workers , occupational therapists, pharmacists, psychologists.
How far has mental health awareness gained traction in the last 10-15 years and how far does it still need to get?
It is great to see Mental health being talked about in the media now and the stigma is slowly reducing but there still is a long way to go in reducing the stigma that mental health clients face.
Is there still a stigma within the business, sporting and political world about mental health?
Definitely there is. I work as a Sports Psychiatrist too and we have a lot of work to do within the sporting world to reduce the stigma elite athletes and coaching staff face ( this includes retired elite athletes and coaches).
Would you recommend Psychiatry as a career choice?
Yes I would recommend a career in Psychiatry as every day is different. I recently gave advice to a junior registrar on how important it is to look after your own mental health as working in this field can be emotionally draining but very rewarding. I advocate for a good work life balance.
What benefits are involved in becoming a locum doctor?
You get to see some beautiful parts of Australia and work with different teams. I especially love working in rural areas and helping those who have difficulty accessing mental health care.
What is one thing you wished somebody told you before you began your career as a Psychiatrist?
Making sure you look after yourself and develop a good work life balance.
What are some easy things that people can do throughout their day to help relieve stress, anxiousness and fear?
Keeping a structure in their day. Getting at least 8 hours sleep. Meditation is great for good mental health. Also eating a healthy diet is important. The other aspect is being connected to family, friends and maintaining healthy relationships.