So I'm not quite in as much as a funk as I was the other week, but I think I can pretty safely say that I can't do inpatient psych as a career. As much as I love interacting with the fascinating patients and am extremely entertained by them, most of their stories just make me feel so sad and helpless. I have a lot of respect for the people who do end up going into inpatient psych, because the victories with the patients' treatment are far and few between, and personally, I think I need validation on a more constant basis. If I went into psych, I could see asking myself in ten years, after a really tough day, "why am I even doing this?!"
Also, I've found that being around people with so many emotional issues makes me think about my own personal issues a lot. I tend to use the "suppression" defense mechanism often in dealing with things, so the constant prompting to think about things is annoying.
The other day I almost messed up big time, but got lucky. Extremely lucky... Since I work in a locked facility, you need a key to get through almost every door. I had mine attached to my ID badge. I used it to get out of the medical offices, and somehow, it fell off my badge in the 15 feet I walked to the nurses' station. I noticed it was missing in the next minute when I tried to get out of the nursing station door to go back to the office, and my stomach dropped. Last week, one of the patients escaped when they found an ID badge that someone had dropped. (Funny enough, that patient returned to the psych ward on their own accord later that day, and when they weren't recognized as a patient, begged to the security guard, "Let me in!") Would another patient escape because of me?! Did I just let someone dangerous loose into the outside world?!
I frantically told one of the attendings that I lost my key in the last minute, and just as we began to retrace my steps, one of the other med students comes walking into the nurses' station holding my key up to see whose it is. Apparently, the patient that assaulted a staff lady a few weeks ago found the key and brought it to the other medical student. My classmate's first instinctual reaction was to stay away from that patient, so he said, "Oh no, that's not mine." But then he realized that patients, especially that patient, shouldn't have keys, so he took it.
Let's just say I got extremely lucky. And what does it say about that patient's state of mind that he didn't even try to escape? Maybe he likes it here?