Mental Health: What’s the deal?

Wow,

I am terribly behind with my regular blogging! 😦 There’s no excuse, but it’s been busy and blogging about our recent vacation took a lot longer than usual.

So what’s the deal with school now?

Well, I’m 5 weeks into my Mental Health rotation, and yes, I’m quite enjoying it! By random luck (or is it bad luck? Haha), both Mike and I got placed as the only 2 students at a private mental health hospital in Brisbane.

The experience so far has been very enlightening. We found it initially daunting and awkward learning to take a psychiatric history from patients and formulating our thoughts. The feeling is quite similar to being in first year again, learning how to take a medical history and talk to patients. Fortunately, we’ve gained a lot more confidence in the last few weeks. Taking a medical history is like second nature to us now, hopefully taking a psychiatric history will, in time, feel the same.

We are humbled and grateful every time a patient agrees to talk to us or allows us to sit in during a consultation. If you think about it, these people are sharing with us, complete (not yet qualified) strangers, the most personal aspects of their lives. Some people have been victims of sexual and/or physical abuse, others have gone through great losses, some struggle with their spouses having affairs, while others have thoughts of self harm and have even tried to kill themselves. Every single patient we’ve met has taught us something, in some way, that we could never learn from a textbook.

Every patient we’ve met has a different story and is fighting a different battle. One of the first and biggest challenges for us has been, “How do we talk to these patients? How do we approach sensitive topics in a way that will not be upsetting?” We quickly learned that despite all the differences, these patients are all still the same in one way: Like you and I, they are people too.

Talking to patients with mental illness or a difficult life/past can be hard. But it’s not necessary to over-think how to talk to them. As long as you are patient, empathic and a listener, most people will be more than happy to talk to you and share their stories with you.

We also get scheduled teaching time with 3-4 consultants every week, which has been great. They have all been great teachers and we’ve learned so much already! Not just in terms of knowledge aspect, but also plenty of real life stories and experiences – something you can never learn from reading a book.

Have I mentioned we have a great Registrar? Yes, thank goodness! Most of our day is spent with him and the patients. He’s pretty awesome with them and definitely a good role model to try and emulate. As one of our profs said, “Shamelessly steal!” Adapt the styles, sayings and techniques from your seniors and colleagues that can make you a better doctor!

The most scary aspect of Mental Health at this moment? The fact that we are approaching the end of Week 5… only 2 more weeks until final exams. Absolutely crazy. It’s insane how quickly time has gone by!

Photo #233: USMLE… sigh.

October 18, 2012

Tonight, I made the decision to write the USMLE Step 1… hooray… sad face. 😦 Finally took a serious look at the First Aid book I bought last year and a part of me died inside. There is a lot of material to know. I should’ve decided to write this earlier. Why am I doing this to myself? Oh wait, I should already know all of this stuff… it’s the thought of having to remember everything inside out that makes me cry. At least I can now say I’m not closing a door to my future!

Procrastinating… as usual -_-‘

I have 2 exams this Saturday: Clinical Science and Ethics & Professional Practice.

Am I ready yet? No.

Will I be ready? Maybe!

But as usual, I’m taking many breaks to go on (what Michael likes to call) YouTube Adventures!

Join me for a smile as I procrastinate!

Medical Terminology Concerto
(Not everyone will find this amusing as I do…)

2 Hamsters 1 Wheel
(Mike laughed so hard, he cried – for real)

Sugar Painting: Chinese Dragon
(Such a low cost business and so good! I wish I had such a talent!)

and because one video is never enough

Painting on Water
(Reminds me of doing marble nails if anyone has ever done that before)

Flexipan Small Cakes
(I really really want these pans now…)

Funny Japanese Pranks
(Because they never fail to make me laugh)

Gangnam Style!
(Come on… don’t tell me you haven’t seen this yet? :P)

Thinking about Phase 2 of MBBS

That time of the year has finally come!

As we head into the new semester, all second years need to start deciding where we’d like our paths to unfold for clerkship beginning next year.

What is clerkship? It’s when we stop learning in class (Years 1+2) and start learning in the hospital (Years 3+4). Finally, yay!

Year 3 comprises of 5 hospital rotations, each 8 weeks long and must completed in the following order: General Practice, Surgery, Mental Health, Medicine, and Medicine in Society. We can start with whichever rotation, but they must follow that order.

Year 4 will continue with more rotations in other specialties including Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics.

So now the question is, in which order do I want to complete my Year 3 rotations and more importantly, which Clinical School would I like to attend?

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to pick my current hospital, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital (RBWH) as my first choice and hope to start with Medicine in Society.

Medicine in Society sounds particularly interesting. As international students, we have the option of organizing a rural rotation back home or stay in Brisbane and complete it in the field of Rehab, Indigenous Health, Geriatrics and/or Palliative. I don’t plan to go back to Canada for any rotations until 4th year, but I’ve always found Palliative Care and Geriatrics interesting!

Why RBWH? It has many perks including being a huge quaternary and tertiary hospital (largest in Queensland) and only a few minutes from home… 😀

I’m glad I’ve finally made up my mind. Our allocation system will be opening a week from today. I hope I’ll get my first choices!

Last week of Semester 1!

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all having a fantastic day 🙂

I have exciting news to share – I’m almost done first semester of second year med, woo hoo! What a great year so far – some downs but definitely lots of ups!

This is my last week of school and then we have next week off to study for exams. I have 4 final exams this semester, spread over 4 days – June 12-15. They’re coming up soon!

I’m feeling confident. Not because I’ve studied and know my material but simply because I have to succeed! There’s too much at stake to be lazy and fail. So much stuff to go through but there’s still lots of time to get everything done.

We do not start Semester 2 until June 25 so guess what I’m doing for the holidays?

Singapore!

Mike and I have bought tickets to visit Singapore from June 18-22 – very excited. It’s a place we’ve been wanting to visit and didn’t get the chance to while we were on elective in Vietnam.

You know what makes it even better? There was a sale and our tickets cost only $200/person for a return trip – how could we pass up that opportunity? In addition, a couple of our Singaporean friends are also going home and have offered to take us around and show us the little gems of Singapore 🙂 I’m so excited! I will finally be able to experience epic food adventures I keep hearing about!

So great to have this little opportunity to look forward to but until then… study study!

Are you preparing for exam too? Good luck!

 

Vietnam: Day 1

Day 1: Oct 22

Arrived in VN on time at 9:15pm. Unfortunately, many other people also took the convenient and cheaper way out when it came to VN visas. Because of applying for our visas online, we ended up waiting at the airport for over an over to get them! Poor Ong Ut had to wait for ages until we came out. We also met his nephew, Dung, who drove us back to Trung Mai hotel to drop off luggage and pick up Kristen for dinner.

First meal in Vietnam – pho – how appropriate! By the time we got back, made the appropriate calls to back home, it was nearly 1am. So tired and we were going to be picked up the following morning at 7:30 am for dim sum…

The end!

NOTE: Found out I can’t upload pictures via photobucket with my iPad! So I don’t know when I will be able to show you pictures! 😦 😦

Thurs Oct 20, 2011 – Last day of exams!

Woo hoo! My last exam of first year medical school!

My third exam went from 10am to 12pm. It was overall very fair and of same difficulty as last year’s, thank goodness!

The class then headed over to the Rugby Club for BBQ and drinks aaand we even got a class picture! 😛

Where am I?! :O

I haven’t seen 1/2 of these people and I’m sure quite a few weren’t even present – what a crazy huge class!

Great year, great memories, great times!

And now, the 3 of us are on to even more exciting things… in Vietnam!! 🙂

Good luck to us! Here’s to hoping nothing bad will happen and that we’ll be learning lots while having tons of fun!

2 exams down, one more to go!

Woo hoo! Yay!

So far so good… don’t think I’ve failed any yet, which is always the most important thing 😉

Exam #1 – PSA 2.1 – Oct 18, 2011
Exam #2 – PSA 2.2 – Oct 19, 2011
Exam #3 – PSA 2.3 – Oct 20, 2011

I feel completely burnt out but I am so so excited for tomorrow! My final exam will be from 10am to 12pm and then freedom! Most of the grade will then be gathering for a BBQ and celebraaations!

First of med school…DONE!

Actually, that’s not true. My first year technically does not end until I’ve completed my 4 week medical elective from Oct 24 to Nov 18. Not to mention I have to pass that AND these exams!

But I can’t wait 🙂 Flying out to Vietnam Saturday morning so Friday will be a busy day for packing and running around in order to get last minute things done. Michael and I are traveling on the same flight and will be arriving a few hours after Kristen. Ong Ut Duong has kindly offered to pick us up from the airport and helped arranged accommodations for us – so we are set to arrive!

Our itinerary