5:30 Wake up freaking out I’M LATE

Oh wait… I’m not on surg anymore I’ve got another 2 hours sleep. Thank god for 9-5 psychiatry.

7:30 Alarm goes off… Snoozed
8:00 Three snoozes later… damnit still late
8:15 Sprint out the door coffee in one hand, toast in the other.

CRAP my keys

8:17 Sprint out the door coffee in one hand, toast and keys in other
8:30 Ok I’ve got half an hour to find all-day parking somewhere near the hospital that should be ok right?
8:50 WRONG. I’m a 15-minute walk away and WHY did I choose today to wear in the new clinical shoes.


Stacks of crushed cars

Morning (continued)

9:05 Me and my blisters sneak in to handover… turns out the consultant hasn’t arrived and everyone is just going to get a coffee. So glad I rushed.
9:20 Handover begins.
9:55 Handover ends. I’m already emotionally exhausted.
10:00 Divvying up of patients – don’t know enough about acronyms to know what patients to avoid…. Why are BPAD, BPD and BPSD so vastly different??
10:20 Finally make it up to the wards

  • Search frantically for patient files
  • Ask if reg wants the obs chart
  • Reg laughs hysterically
  • Oh god am I meant to be doing the notes??
  • Asked to take a history from two patients and report back
10:22 Introduce myself way too cheerfully to the patient with major depression

Introduce myself way too sadly to the next patient’s family

10:55 Spent way too long with patients and the registrar has forgotten me

Spend way too long looking for registrar. Why didn’t I get a contact number?!

11:00 Report back to reg

  • Apparently patient #1 has told me 98% lies and thus a useless history. Feeling good.
  • Apparently patient #2 has perfect recall now that the reg is here. Great.
11:30 Multi-disciplinary team meeting

  • Consultant isn’t here yet. 3 different people ask me if I’m the consultant
  • How old do I look today?!
  • Get asked consultant-level questions
  • Deer-in-headlights response alerts people to the fact that I’m not the consultant
  • Subtly attempt to make ‘medical student’ name tag more obvious so people don’t think I know things
  • Stomach rumbling is by far the most noticeable contribution I make at the meeting
12:30 Reg: time for lunch!

Me: don’t we have to see the rest of the patients?

Reg: nah we’ll see the rest tomorrow

Wow I’m starting to see why people choose psych.

12:40 Insurance reps in the lobby. SCORE

·       Listen to spiel and nod politely for required minute before cramming as many turkey salad sandwiches I can into my mouth


Deer in headlights

A real-life photo of me getting asked a question by the team



1:30 *Code grey, emergency department entrance*

*Code grey, emergency department waiting room*

*Code grey, bed 25, emergency department*


*phone rings* surprise surprise we’ve got a new patient to admit in ED

1:45 Medical student advised not to come in to patient room before restraints are fitted
1:55 Sit in computer pod for an hour while the reg sees the patient

  • Check messages
  • Browse Facebook
  • Check Snapchat
  • Look up potential overseas trips for the holidays
  • Message friends from med school about how I have no time to study
2:55 Reg spends half an hour writing detailed patient admission noted

  • Attempt to look productive
  • Check messages
  • Browse Facebook
  • Accidentally lol at haemolytic memes
  • Attempt to look productive
3:30 Reg: want a coffee?

Brain: YES

Mouth: “oh I’m ok”


Brain: *switches off completely in protest of caffeine drought*


Coffee mug

The great caffeine drought of 3:30 had many casualties



4:30 “If there aren’t any more patients maybe I should head off?”

*phone rings*

New patient to see

Why do I jinx myself like this

4:40 Off to ED again

  • New patient:
  • Compliments my hair
  • Tells me I look great today
  • Compliments my shirt

Leave the room feeling great

  • Patient apparently manic
  • Guess counter-transference isn’t always a bad thing

  • Blisters and me hike back to the car
7:00 Out for dinner with friends

  • Diagnose each of them (and myself) with personality disorder or traits
9:30 Study time

  • Forgot I left the radio on
  • Convince myself I’m having auditory hallucinations


10:30 Bed time

  • Can’t sleep
  • Are sleep disturbances the first sign of mental illness?
  • Self-diagnose 8-10 more mental health problems before drifting off


Eva Matthews Staindl

Year 4 med student

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Diary of a Med Student on Psychiatry
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