Katrina Pullia (first year PA student, Class of 2018) goes through her experience working in an addictions psychiatry unit during her longitudinal placement.
What LP did you do?
I completed four half-days with Dr. Jennifer Brasch at St. Joseph’s West 5th campus in Addictions Psychiatry which included the inpatient concurrent disorders ward as well as a half day at the methadone clinic.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
I met Dr. Brasch at a meet and greet event I attended which was hosted by the Federation of Medical Women of Canada. I contacted her after the event about arranging a placement due to my interest and previous experience in psychiatry.
What were the two main things you learned from the LP?
I learned a lot about concurrent disorders and co-morbidity in psychiatry and how the presence of multiple disorders changes your treatment approach. I also learned about the dynamics of inpatient psychiatry as a patient and clinician which differs significantly from outpatient psychiatry.
What do you wish you had known beforehand to help you in your LP?
I wish I had more knowledge about psychotropic medication, specifically anti-psychotics and their effects as well as how to modify treatment for concurrent and co-morbid disorders.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision-making?
It really helped me remove pre-existing stereotypes I had about patients in addictions psychiatry. The half-day at the methadone clinic was very eye-opening about biases I didn't realize I'd be carrying and helped to dispel myths about what I thought I was going to encounter versus the patients I was seeing in front of me. It also helped solidify how much I enjoy working in psychiatry and the complex cases that come with it.
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