Is this suitable for my PRIMARY clinical exposure?

Jul 25, 2020
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I am being offered a job as a 'Psychiatric Technician' and I am wondering if it is a suitable clinical exposure, especially because (aside from shadowing and maybe some hours at a free clinic volunteering) this would be my main clinical experience at the time of application. I anticipate 800-1200 hours by application time. The key points are that I am not interested in Psychiatry as a medical specialty but it seems like a rewarding group of people to work with and because I don't have the money or time to get an AEMT/MA certification which all other part-time clinical jobs in more traditional settings at my local healthcare system require. I included the position description below, what are SDN's thoughts? I want to emphasize that I will only go into this if it can really give me good pt exposure and serve as a strong experience for clinical hours; I did pharm tech for a year before finding out most adcoms don't even count it as clinical so I really want to invest time in a position that gives me that experience.

"Responsibilities • Assists with maintaining a safe and hazard free environment by observing and documenting patient behavior, conducting patient room searches, reporting unsafe conditions and applying appropriate emotional and physical support. • Performs or assists with the admission of new patients by gathering routine information for nursing assessment, searches patients and belongings for contraband, documents belongings and other appropriate information. • Orients the patient and patient's family to the facility and the policies and procedures. • Escorts the patients to off-unit appointments and activities using therapeutic interventions to ensure the safety of the patient, hospital staff, and other University patients and visitors. • Assists with providing a therapeutic milieu for patients by encouraging patients to participate in recreational activities and group therapies. • Assists with supportive therapy for select patients by leading activity and conversation groups. • Assists in the development of patient behavioral expectations. • May functions as a preceptor to new Psychiatric Technicians. • Assists with the unit's training and quality assurance programs. Provides an annual educational in-service to co-workers. • Functions as a member of the interdisciplinary treatment team. • Assists with initiating and contributing to patient treatment planning, teaching and discharge planning. • Participates in patient care team conferences by sharing observations of patient's progress toward identified goals and assists the primary Registered Nurse with the development, evaluation, and revision of patient care plans.
Knowledge / Skills / Abilities • Ability to recognize when a patient is having an adverse reaction to medication and report it in a timely manner to the Registered Nurse. • Ability to assess a patient that can possibly hurt himself/herself and others and report this information to the Registered Nurse, and has the ability to assist with restraints and seclusion. • Interpersonal skills to acquire the trust of the patients and respond appropriately in a crisis situation. • Ability to utilize the principles of group dynamics when co-leading a group to facilitate the development of social, behavioral, and communication skills among group members. • Knowledge and skills necessary to provide care appropriate to the age of the patients served on his or her assigned unit. • Knowledge of the principles of life span growth and development and the ability to assess data regarding the patient's status and provide care as described in the department's policies and procedures manual. • Demonstrated human relations and effective communication skill."
 

Banco

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Seems like a great experience and better/more hands-on than most pre-meds get.


If you're worried you can always do some volunteering/shadowing in more general medical settings.
 
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Moko

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I am being offered a job as a 'Psychiatric Technician' and I am wondering if it is a suitable clinical exposure
• Performs or assists with the admission of new patients by gathering routine information for nursing assessment
• Orients the patient and patient's family to the facility
• Escorts the patients to off-unit appointments and activities using therapeutic interventions to ensure the safety of the patient, hospital staff, and other University patients and visitors.
• Assists with providing a therapeutic milieu for patients by encouraging patients to participate in recreational activities and group therapies.
• Assists with supportive therapy for select patients by leading activity and conversation groups.
• Functions as a member of the interdisciplinary treatment team.
• Participates in patient care team conferences by sharing observations of patient's progress toward identified goals and assists the primary Registered Nurse with the development, evaluation, and revision of patient care plans.
This seems like a great clinical experience as you will be helping some of the most vulnerable in our society. Ideally, you will be exposed to the full gamut of mental health disorders, and have longitudinal follow-up with patients so you can see them improve over time. Psychiatry is a fascinating field. The skills you learn at this job will be helpful regardless of which specialty you go into. Just my thoughts
 
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Jul 25, 2020
103
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  1. Pre-Medical
This seems like a great clinical experience as you will be helping some of the most vulnerable in our society. Ideally, you will be exposed to the full gamut of mental health disorders, and have longitudinal follow-up with patients so you can see them improve over time. Psychiatry is a fascinating field. The skills you learn at this job will be helpful regardless of which specialty you go into. Just my thoughts
Okay so I just had a final interview and found out they want me working the shock therapy ward. I don't know how I feel about that. Given, I am uneducated on this topic but that just sounds really...harsh. Shocking people? If I continue with this experience will it look bad? Isn't medicine about compassion and making people feel better?


Edit: technical name of the ward is the 'Treatment Resistant Mood Disorders Clinic', mostly shock and ketamine.
 

Moko

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Okay so I just had a final interview and found out they want me working the shock therapy ward. I don't know how I feel about that. Given, I am uneducated on this topic but that just sounds really...harsh. Shocking people? If I continue with this experience will it look bad? Isn't medicine about compassion and making people feel better?
ECT serves as an effective treatment for severe depression and some other conditions. It can literally help patients regain control of their mind. It's really quite amazing. From what I've been told, ECT is a fairly painless procedure. It's done in a controlled environment, and it's not like they are using 200J of energy like we do with cardioversions and defibrillations. In comparison, electrical cardioversions are the truly harsh interventions (imagine being kicked in the chest by a horse), but can be the difference between life and death. No intervention is without its risks, and sometimes in order to help patients get better, we subject them to potential suffering. Think phlebotomy, chemotherapy, intubations, chest compressions, immunosuppression, anticoagulation, etc.

I would ask what the typical patient population is on this ward, i.e. will you see primarily those with severe depression, or will you also be exposed to other mood and psychotic disorders (e.g bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc). If it's primarily just patients with severe depression, ask if you can potentially rotate to other wards after you've gained enough experience and exposure.
 
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Jul 25, 2020
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Extremely reassuring, thank you. Last thing I want is to take 4am shifts for two years and have an adcom question if I have the capacity to empathize lol. They mentioned schizophrenia and I'll ask about other potential patients. Thanks!!
 
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