When I see patients, I usually like to take my time, especially for first consults. (I enjoy the interview process, and talking to people.)
However, I think there is a need to “tailor” my interviewing to the time constraint factor.
Earlier, I volunteered a local psychiatric facility in my locality. It’s a government facility, so I expected that there would be many patients to see. However, I got more than I had bargained for. 🙂 I’m not complaining about the sheer volume of patients, though. I was more concerned about not being able to give enough time for each one, as much as I’d like to.
This morning’s exercise proved to be a good eye-opener… For one thing, it taught me the basics of budgeting my time, and second, it gave me a first hand experience of the way people in more rural areas viewed Psychiatry. (They kept coming and coming into the room.)
The stigma of mental illness is still very real in the province where I’m from. Even the mention of the place I was volunteering at was enough to connote that image of “locks, cages and hopeless cases”. (It was not so, of course, the staff was competent and they knew what to do, it was just that the way people thought about things for a very long time.)
It was a mix of patients and relatives, with an equally varied number of problems… They ranged from * problems with sleep, up to problems with the government’s not having enough stock in the place (but I think that that man was just having a bad day.)
I was thankful for the time to do some volunteer work, and also to spend some time with the students who were getting their firsthand experience of the interview with a mentally-ill patient. I wish there were more chances to teach.
(I wish I had a car, though. That place was far.)
(I wish I knew how to drive too.)