It’s going to be a very fast ride with some ups and downs along the way. Today was my first day of mental health clinica. It started last night when I went to bed early. I rode the train from downtown to the hospital early this morning. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really very apprehensive last night about my first day like I was last semester in foundations. I think that is partially because I knew there would not be any patient interaction, just orientation. I woke up early and went for a run this morning and then came home to get cleaned up and make my way to the train station. I felt really good about taking the train because I had scoped out the parking situation earlier this week. I made it in time and met my associates and we were on our way.
It was my idea to take the train to clinical so that I would have nearly three hours of study time each day. However, with a “study group” you have to be careful because they tend to turn into chat groups. Sure enough, not much studying got done today. Fortunately for me, my peers decided that the train took too long and I’ll be making the trip solo from now on.
I cannot begin to say how excited I am about clinical this semester. After last semester (Foundations), I need some structure. Each assignment was given a due date at the beginning of the semester. I know WHEN to get stuff done. Yea! We went through each assignment and talked about what was expected and how to get it done. Yea! Yea! Organization is our friend. I feel confident that I’ll be able to have my assignments done on time and done effectively. Here’s the only problem with the assignments…they roll around pretty fast. There won’t be any rest for the weary during the next four weeks. Between attending theory class (8 hrs/wk), clinical (16 hrs/wk), 2 group sessions and getting stuff done at home it’s going to be tight getting in enough time to complete these aforementioned assignments. Thanks to my handy, super awesome excel schedule I think I’ll be able to stay on top of things.
Our orientation to the hospital was pretty eye-opening today. The educational instructor is really helpful and wants to see us succeed while we are spending time at the hospital. Their computer charting system is very cool. There’s almost not any reason to have to interact with the patients. It’s all there on the computer for us. It’s almost too much information. I’m sure it will take a couple of days to figure out what where to find the information that I need for my reports. Hopefully, this will actually make my time with the patients even more beneficial. I’ll already know all of the basics. It’ll just be practicing my therapeutic communication on a real life person.
Speaking of real life people, it looks like I’ll have the opportunity to observe all kinds of group sessions while I’m at the hospital. I wasn’t too sure what the clinical experience would be like during the mental health rotation. Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of listening. I can do that. While there will be several group sessions, I’ll have the opportunity to interact one-on-one with some of the patients as well. That’s the scary part.…especially after reading some their charts today (These people are seriously messed up). I just have to remember that it’s not about me; it’s about the patients…How does that make you feel?...Can you tell me more about that?...Do you see someone over there?...Are you hearing voices?...What are they telling you? The voices in my head are sometimes telling me “What the hell have you gotten yourself into?” and other times they say “Cool!”
Regardless, I think that that at the end of this six week rotation I’ll look back and remember this summer session as one of the best semesters I’ve ever had. It will be an exciting ride for sure.