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I am in 10th grade and I am thinking of becoming a psychiatrist. What is the average day in the life of being a psychiatrist and what tasks are involved on a daily basis?

#psychiatrist #psychiatry #healthscience

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Susan Delphine’s Answer

Almost all psychiatrists work in different ways at different times in their career.

New psychiatrists often do hospital work all day, with some on-call responsibilities.

New psychiatrists with an office practice often must work a few days a week in public psychiatry (indigent work for an agency) until their practice builds up.

I am semi-retired and working three days a week. Due to the pandemic, I am doing tele-psychiatry exclusively. I am thinking of moving my tele-psychiatry practice to my home when my lease expires in a year.
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Ryan’s Answer

I agree with Dr. Delaney. A big distinction is between inpatient (in the hospital) and outpatient work (when patients come for appointments at a clinic). Sometimes psychiatrists will treat patients at a hospital in the morning and then see patients in a clinic in the afternoon.

As you might imagine, a psychiatrist treats things like depression and anxiety along with substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia along with other illnesses that are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which is the manual that is used to make a diagnosis.

Psychiatrists usually stick to managing medications so clinic appointments are pretty short, around 15 minutes for an established patient and between 30 minutes to an hour for a new patient. In a typical day, a psychiatrist see around 15-20 patients usually in the outpatient clinic. In the hospital, it is usually around 5-10 patients.

Tasks that are needed on a daily basis are documenting appointments usually in an electronic medical record so typing and computer skills are required a lot. In order to manage medications well, training in medical school and residency is required as well as ongoing education to stay current on new medications that come out.

I find it satisfying to apply scientific knowledge to help people who are in need of treatment and improve their daily lives. Each patient is different so there is a lot of variety even within a particular diagnosis and it requires the ability to use good judgement to help them in the best way.
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