Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Applying what I learned

How inpatient psychiatry has changed! I remember having an attractive woman patient many years ago whose biggest problem was trying to decide which rich man she was going to marry. That was back when the hospitals had swimming pools and tennis courts and when the staff took the patients horseback riding and to the movies. Now it is quite different. The nice amenities are long gone and the patients have become more seriously ill. In fact, several of the folks I have recently talked with have spent much of their adulthood in prison for serious crimes. Thank goodness I had a little preparation in understanding them due to a research paper I wrote for an ethics class when I went back to school at fifty-something. But still... This week as I was sitting alone in a small room with a person who, without giving too much info, had more than a checkered past, I thought about what I had learned then, and I was more empathetic. And empathy can translate into trust, and trust can translate into safety - my own. Sometimes what we learn in school is useful.

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