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After completing a year of inpatient and off service rotations I finally made it to second year!

Psychiatry PGY-2: A Day in the Life with Halimah Oral

By: Halimah Oral, MD

After completing a year of inpatient and off service rotations I finally made it to second year! 

My day starts at 8 AM when I arrive to the consults workroom, where I meet up with the rest of our team and begin to review the records of the patients we’ll be seeing that day. I’m starting out at the VA medical center, but throughout the year I’ll also work on psychiatric consults at University Hospital and Riley. We see patients with concerns ranging from psychosis to delirium, as well as occasional zebras like neuropsychiatric Lupus or NMDA encephalitis. 

Because I’m on the research track, one day a week I have an afternoon set aside to work on research. I’m about to start learning how to set up the neural navigation system for a TMS study! There are a lot of different research projects available, and it is very easy to get involved, though not required. On Fridays we have the afternoons off for protected lectures. Because of the pandemic we’ve been doing those via Zoom, but when we go back to normal we’ll have catered lunch together and all meet up at Goodman Hall for lectures. 

The second half of the year I’ll switch from consults to clinics. Our program runs a bit differently than other programs in that we begin our exposure to outpatient our second year with unique specialty clinics. I’ll be rotating through addictions and geriatrics clinics, as well as having an opportunity to begin practicing CBT. I’ll also be spending time at Secure Holding at Methodist, seeing patients who present with psychiatric crises.

Additionally this year we start taking overnight call– usually once every other week. During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been taking call from home, but we have a call room at the VA hospital where we can stay overnight. During these calls we manage anything that arises on the VA unit at night, as well as admissions to the VA, and new consults at the VA and University Hospital. It’s been a great experience to help develop my autonomy and confidence in making admission vs. discharge decisions. 

Finally, our program has a fantastic work life balance. On weekends I enjoy hanging out with my family and co-residents. Before covid, we had a lot of social events like group marathons, restaurants, BBQs, movie nights, and game nights. We also have a yearly retreat where we have several days off to spend together doing team-building activities and having fun.