Aside from the people I worked with, the patients were thrilling, insightful, emotional, and.... simply incredible. Some patients just needed someone to listen to them, some needed guidance, some wanted medications (for good and not so good reasons), and some didn't even realize who we were as providers (or even where they were as patients). I feel as though I was able to make some great bonds with the patients, watch them get better and help them along their medical journeys.
There was one patient I remember in particular who I spent a good hour with about her anxiety. She cried while I held her hand, she yelled and let out anger, she discussed issues and outcomes, good and bad. I felt after that hour we created something more than rapport, we created a bond. I was not just listening to her, I was communicating with her. She even asked to see me the next day. I spent a little extra time with her, wrote a detailed note and then went on with the day. Thinking of her the next morning I gladly went to see her, wrote up another note and then spoke to my attending. By the time the attending went to see the patient, she had been discharged, which means that we could not bill for anything because the attending did not end up seeing her. Upset, the attending apologized that I had to do so much work for "nothing." Now...I don't want this to come off the wrong way, but .... it wasn't "for nothing," the patient felt better after I talked to her, she felt stronger, more empowered, and more relaxed. In this case, the patient just needed someone on her side, not necessarily medications or even... the attending. In this case, this patient was able to leave the hospital in a slightly better mental state than she arrived in...and because of that... I am happy.
The human mind is an amazing, powerful thing, and it can do some crazy things to people sometimes. It is our job as providers to help these patients in ways no one else could. Medications can be very helpful, bedside therapy, and even ECT can be helpful and life changing for some patients. This rotation was great for every student, because it teaches us that every patient has a different story, and it is our job to treat them as people, not always as "patients" because it can truly make a difference in the outcome of our care.