Monday, November 27, 2006

Milestone: First Dinner Paid For by a Pharmaceutical Company

I went to a Resident's Research night the other night at a fancy business club downtown. I was attracted by the possibility of the free cocktails, the free gourmet dinner, the experience of seeing this fancy club for free, and not one bit by the free research speech in between.

We arrived, suitably conforming to the club's dress code, and were pointed to a conference hall in the public area of the club. I never did get to see the private member's area with the billiards tables and the swimming pool and the brandy and stacks of the Wall Street Journal. Strike 1.

After that, the first thing we noticed is that there was a price list beside the bar. By "Cocktails 6:30 - 7:00" on the invitation, they meant "Cash Bar 6:30 - 7:00." BIG difference. Strike 2.

At the end of the speech, though, which was mostly out of my league (but it kept my attention because the resident spoke so fast) they served a fabulous and delicious three-course dinner with all the wine we could drink. Outstanding. Reset the count; 0 balls, 0 strikes.

And the best part: right before they served it, they told us that a pharmaceutical company was paying for the dinner. I had been wondering how long it would be before I was getting food from the drug companies; my time had come. I have pretty much arrived. (And I don't feel coerced one bit: to be honest, other than mentioning the name once, they did a bad job of making an impression. I can't even remember the name of the drug company. That makes it OK, then, doesn't it?)

It was well worth going just for the (free) dinner, but the best part happened after dinner. Two young psychiatrists came and sat down at the table where I was sitting with about five other first-years from my class. They told us a lot about psychiatry, answered our naïve questions ("Do you have a couch?" - answer: only about 3 shrinks in the entire metropolitan area use couches), and joked around with us, and gave us some great advice.

Before I get to the advice, let me make this clear: I know absolutely nothing about psychiatry, and in fact, in all seriousness, I am a little bit frightened by the thought of being around psychotic patients. Okay, I know that statement is laden with ignorance and so forth. Go ahead and make your judgments... Strike 1, against me... but hear me out:

Despite my ignorance, I am really interested in actually overcoming my ignorance and getting to know what the profession is like (reset the count against me, 0 balls, 0 strikes). I got the doc's contact info and I'm looking forward to shadowing them in the near future to get a handle on what they really do.

All that being said, however, the most valuable part of the entire evening was the advice that the psychiatrists gave us. I'll leave you with that; it should be helpful to anyone trying to figure out what specialty they should enter.

"No matter what fascinates you now, it is going to become routine after you do it day in and day out. So, when you're in a rotation or shadowing, take a close look at the residents in that field, and see if their level of happiness, their lifestyle, the things outside of what they do for work, jive with what you're hoping for in your career. If they don't, then look for another specialty."


Anonymous said...

You make the medical world sound fun! It kinda makes me wanna drop out of Business and spend another 10 years in science ...but then I remember how much I hated BISC 101. :P

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Ookay. Curiosity about different areas in medicine is good. Psychiatry is a great field to stay away from. It's a fake science, with unproveable assumptions, intruding scientific naturalism into the spiritual domain, trying to take control over problems which are not at all medical in nature, using psycho-active drugs to control people's brains to make them think "normally." I feel so strongly about this, I am going to write you a separate email. Sorry, you pushed one of my buttons. ;S

Anonymous said...

Wow alice, did you learn about psychiatry from Tom Cruise? Perhaps it's simply naievity from not meeting someone with a chemical imbalance that makes their life literally feel as though they are in hell. Chemical intervention can make all the difference. I hope you are also in business and not planning on becoming a physician.

Anonymous said...

"...intruding scientific naturalism into the spiritual domain, trying to take control over problems which are not at all medical in nature"? Because out-of-wack-hormones are clearly caused by the devil and can be cured only through prayer and fasting.

I have a feeling that someone needs to go watch Jesus Camp.