Choose Psychiatry 2022: Best decision of my life
31 October, 2022
Dr Marcin Ostrowski is a senior specialty doctor working in the national inpatient autism service and appeared in this year’s Choose Psychiatry film. This blog post is a transcript of a longer interview he recorded to support the campaign.
Why would you recommend psychiatry as a career?
So, it's a very interesting story why I've chosen psychiatry, because before I did psychiatry, I also trained in a GP practice.
When I was in General Practice, I realised that the majority of my patients would be having some difficulties with their mental health or their emotions, and I felt that eight minute conversations were never good enough to provide enough support for patients, and that's what really got me thinking about psychiatry.
Further on in my career, as I was training in primary care, I realised there was a massive need to help patients with mental health difficulties, and also that actually I'd been thinking a lot about how I could improve my practice and make more time with patients.
At the end of my training I applied for core training in psychiatry and straight away I knew it was the best decision I've ever made in my life.
What do you do as a psychiatrist now?
I'm a senior speciality doctor working in the national inpatient autism service, which looks after very complex adult individuals with autism.
Why do you love your job?
I love my job for so many reasons.
First of all it gives me a buzz. It gives me excitement when I wake up every day, I never feel like, I'm pulling myself out of bed to go to work. I love the time I can spend with my patients.
I love my team. I have a fantastic team, which is highly specialised, and it's a true reflection of what multi-disciplinary teams should be like.
We work with dance therapists, music therapists, very senior occupational therapists, and psychologists. We have non-medical prescribers. We have non-medical ACs and RCs. We have such a wide experienced MDT. So that's one thing I particularly enjoy, the MDT working and the support of my highly specialised team.
On a clinical level what I love about my branch of psychiatry is that it's highly specialised, and actually I never feel like an expert in it.
It's always the patients and their families who are the experts. We just facilitate their recovery. We facilitate their kind of journey through our service.
Another aspect of my job I really enjoy is the work we do to enable our patients to have a fulfilling life, living independently or with support in the community settings.
I never stop being surprised how very little changes to the environment, to the sensory environment around patients can improve one's quality of life, and I do particularly enjoy that side of my job.
Why would you recommend psychiatry to others?
Psychiatry is interesting and exciting. Psychiatry is still developing. There is so much research happening in psychiatry.
There are so much branches of psychiatry which either have developed, and are extremely interesting and can provide work-life balance while you train or work in the psychiatry, but also psychiatry gives you more time with your patients.
It gives you this additional level of connection with patients. Often when you give more time to the patient or spend more time with the patient, they overshare, they build trust with you, and every single story in psychiatry is different.
And I particularly recommend this experience in psychiatry.
The fact that we are just part of the journey of our patients, whether it's the illness, whether it's the recovery, but also our care as psychiatrists also extend onto psychoeducation, making families aware of the illness and recovery process, being able to also, with patients, for instance, with dementia, we often support the loved ones of our patients to kind of, have a, also life and understanding of what's happening.
So I see psychiatry as one of these branches of medicine, which really gives a proper holistic approach to patient care.