Suniya Naeem – Aga Khan University (Pakistan)
PSYY 436 – Acting Internship in Psychiatry
What made you apply to this elective?
I went into medical school wanting to be a psychiatrist, and 4 years later, my conviction is stronger than ever. Keeping that in mind, I applied for an Acting Internship at UNC after reading about their exemplary residency program and faculty. Despite coming from the best medical college in my region, I still had misgivings that our differing cultural norms, lifestyles and outlooks could mean that psychiatric practice would be completely different in the US. I came to UNC full of nervous excitement about how an Acting Internship,with its additional responsibilities in terms of individual patient care, would differ from my
experiences as a medical student.
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience in this elective?
At the end of the first day, I could see how difficult it would be to leave at the end of the month. The team in the Psychotic Disorders Unit was incredibly supportive and inclusive, hitting the perfect balance between autonomy and supervision. I took charge of patient interviews, obtained collaterals and formulated treatment plans, and had the chance to discuss each patient at length and get feedback during our daily treatment rounds. The residents I worked with on a daily basis, as well as those I met in
clinics or on call were more than happy to share their knowledge and their time. My primary consultant, Dr. Jennifer Richards gave me something to aspire to everyday,whether it be her knowledge in her field, her ability to multitask or the ease with which she built relationships with each one of her incredibly diverse array of patients.
Dr. Richards also encouraged me to branch out and experience every part of UNC Psychiatry. I worked with different consultants in varying subspecialties, and observed procedures I had not had the opportunity of seeing before. I was fortunate enough to see incredibly rare disorders and experienced the rush of treading in unknown waters when trying to reach a treatment plan.The additional responsibility encouraged me to deal with each one of my patients with a more holistic approach than ever before.
I feel like I left UNC with a much deeper understanding of Psychiatry as a field, as well as a better realization of my potential as a physician. I cherish the experiences I had at Chapel Hill, and would wholeheartedly recommend this institution to aspiring medical students.