Due to a series of fortunate events, I was able to attend the weekly rounds of the Forensic Psychiatry Unit twice during my placement. My problem-based tutorial leader happens to be on staff in that department and invited our group of students to attend. The sessions happened to be held at the hospital site where I was doing my placement. Plus my preceptor was very cool about encouraging me to take advantage of every education opportunity and she let me leave for lunch a few minutes early so that I could get to the session on time, even though the talks had nothing to do with her particular area of practice. I’m a lucky girl!
The first week I attended the guest speaker was Dr. Hy Bloom, who is both a doctor and a lawyer. His presentation was on the topic of workplace violence. Although it was an incredibly interesting topic that was very well presented, I must confess that I left the session feeling a bit disturbed. Workplace violence as a general topic was broken down into “types” based on the perpetrator’s relationship to the workplace. For instance, some have a direct relationship with the workplace as employees and commit acts of violence against coworkers who also have a direct relationship to the workplace. In other instances the perpetrator does not have a personal association with the workplace where violence is perpetrated, and the location has some kind of representative meaning to the person. And there are other types as well… which I’m sure you could look at by looking up some of the publications by Dr. Bloom! My purpose in mentioning a few examples is that each of the different types of workplace violence was illustrated in the presentation with a real life example, and it was the examples that were disturbing. So, I’d say the presentation was great for increasing my awareness of the issue and the resources that are available for further researching the topic, but because of its brevity I left the session with an uneasy feeling and many unanswered questions. Such is the nature of the lunch-time-rounds beast! We only have an hour so it seems as though we just get started when we then have to wrap it up, lol.
The second session I attended was about the assessment and management of suicidal patients and the talk was given by Dr. Larry Chad. He discussed some of the demographic risk factors for suicide and also suggested some strategies he has found successful for addressing patients where there is an overt or suspected risk of suicide. I found this talk to be much more concrete than the workplace violence topic since it focused on what to do in a given situation rather than discussing the topic more abstractly, from a big picture perspective. Don’t get me wrong… both were great! But, since I’ve signed up for a suicide prevention counseling course in the New Year I found the assessment/management topic to be more germane to my current interests.
And that was the last lunchtime rounds session of 2009! Now that my placement is over I’m not sure that I’ll get the chance to attend again… but here’s hoping! I highly recommend taking the time to attend these rounds sessions while you’re on placement if you have the opportunity. Sure, it takes up your lunch hour. But in my humble opinion it’s time well spent. And each department holds its own rounds… so maybe you’re more into pediatrics than forensics? Then check out the pediatrics department to see if they have any postings up about when they hold their rounds! There seems to be something for everyone if you just take a look to see what’s out there.