My Psych Schedule at Blackburn

Royal Blackburn Hospital

Hi everyone! I’d like to talk more about my schedule for my Psych Rotation here at Royal Blackburn Hospital in Blackburn, England.

I go on my rotations five days a week from Monday to Friday. Each morning from around 9:30am to 12pm, I attend ward rounds in which the consultant doctor, nurse, social worker and other members of the health care team reviews and assesses a select number of patients seen that morning, on average around 4 patients per morning. The assessment may be for any reason: A new patient who needs to be assessed and have a full history taken, a patient who is doing well and is going through discharge planning, or simply a patient who needs a routine review. For each patient, the health care team will usually read the patient’s history, update the doctor on recent encounters with the patient, and then the team will discuss what they want to discuss with the patient, what to tell the patient, and what approach to take to talk with the patient. The patient will then come in to the interview room where the doctor will talk with the patient and find out how the patient is doing with the current treatments, and inform them of any treatment plan changes.

From 12pm to 1pm, I usually go eat lunch at the cafeteria in the hospital. It’s only a few steps away from the Psych Ward, so it’s very convenient to go to. The food is ok, as good as hospital food can get, but it’s convenient and fills the stomach, which is most important… they have a salad bar, hot foods, sandwiches, as well as prepared snacks and desserts.

At 1pm I usually return to the ward, and talk to patients, take full histories and conduct mental status examinations. I would then meet with one of the ward doctors and present the history, and he/she will give me feedback, teach me different topics, and give me some material to read up on. I usually come home around 4pm, but they won’t stop you if you want to stay longer, or come back earlier to study.

Every Wednesday afternoons at 1pm, I go to Teaching Sessions given to Junior Doctors at the hospital. As it is located at Royal Blackburn Hospital’s sister hospital, Burnley Hospital, in Burnley, the next town over, I take a half-hour free bus ride there. During the teaching session, there is usually a unique case presented by a junior doctor and discussed, as well as a journal club in which a junior doctor presents research studies pertaining to the practice of Psychiatry. Sometimes, there may also be workshops that teach certain skills for Psychiatrists.

The AUC Clinical Leads at Royal Blackburn Hospital (Dr. Sibley and Dr. Coutts) do their best to have a unique curriculum for AUC students that differs from the curriculum for the University of Manchester medical students who also rotate at the hospital. Every Thursday afternoons at 1pm, I go to Problem-based Learning (PBL) Sessions. These sessions are held exclusively for us AUC students, and we are all required to attend it, even though we may be rotating in different specialties. During the PBL session, Dr. Sibley and/or Dr. Coutts usually goes over a typical Step II-style case and we discuss how we should approach the case, what we should think of, what our differentials should be, and how to test for them or treat them. We would also go over cases that we’ve seen ourselves so far in our rotations and discuss it in the group.

In addition, the AUC program at Blackburn has set up two Sim Man sessions exclusively for the six of us AUC students who are there right now. They have also set up a morning visit to the Children’s Hospice for us, which I will go to next week with a group of my AUC colleagues. Currently they are also working out a few additional skills workshops for us that are optional.

My attending Dr. Adelekan suggested that I take as much advantage as I can of the invaluable opportunity I have here at the hospital to see real patients as this is the only chance we have during med school in learning the tricks of the trade in the real-world setting.  I agree with him and I’ve been taking his advice.