Specialty Secrets: Emergency Psychiatry

Name: Dr. Kendra Campbell

Specialty: Emergency Psychiatry

Undergraduate university attended: George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia

Medical school attended: Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica

Residency program completed: SUNY Downstate

Why did you choose your specialty?: The focus on the “whole” patient: mind, body, social, and environmental factors; as well as the diversity of patient presentations. In my (obviously non-biased!) opinion, emergency psychiatry is the best psychiatric setting to work in!

Where do you currently work?: General emergency room and psychiatric emergency room.

What are your daily tasks in your workplace?: Emergency psychiatry is a sub-specialty of psychiatry (I did a fellowship in it, as well as public psychiatry). Basically, I do evaluations of patients with emergent psychiatric complaints such as suicidality, homicidality, or acute mania and psychosis. Where I work, I do consultations throughout the medical ER, and also work in our dedicated psychiatric emergency room. This functions exactly like a medical ER. We evaluate patients, frequently give medications, and then determine whether or not they need to be admitted to the hospital, or can be safely discharged. Clinical tasks, as mentioned above, are patient evaluations, risk assessments, treatment plans, discharge plans, consulting/liaising with other specialties, family psychoeducation, treatment of agitation. Also, I have other administrative responsibilities.

What is one aspect of your job you wish you could change?: The physician/patient ratio. I wish I had more time to spend with each of my patients.

Craziest experience you’ve had within your field: Absolutely impossible to say, as every single day surprises me. (And that’s one of the reasons why I love my current position.)

Your thoughts on the USMLE Step Exams: Utilize the “First Aid” books and definitely the question banks.

Your favorite study technique in medical school: Repetition and making up your own mnemonics.

Check out Dr. Campbell’s student blog post on 14 study tips for medical school.

Advice for current medical students: Ensure that you have a work/life balance. This is THE most important thing you can do to stay mentally and physically healthy, as well as ensuring your success in medical school and as a physician.



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