Meet the member - Dr Catherine Taggart
21 May, 2021
Hi Catherine, what attracted you to Psychiatry?
I think I have a natural curiosity about people, the way they think and I enjoy hearing their stories. I have a fascination about how the mind works and it is satisfying when you see the difference you can make to people’s lives through treatment.
At medical school, I enjoyed the attachment in psychiatry in my fourth year. For various reasons I couldn’t go away for the summer elective so I chose to spend it in Knockbracken. It was there where my interest really developed. Particularly when I got to talk to patients in person, I felt a real affinity for psychiatry, and I suppose that cemented my interest. It was there that I first met Dr Graham McDonald and Dr Philip McGarry. I went on to work with them both as a junior psychiatrist - I learned so much from them and they encouraged and guided me along the way.
Tell us about your current role?
My first consultant job was as a General Adult Psychiatrist at the Mater Hospital, a post I took up in 2004. Currently, I am a Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry in the Belfast Trust. I’m now based in the Royal Victoria Hospital, but when I took on this role in 2009 we were based in Windsor House, until the ceiling literally came down around us! It was when I was working with Dr Chris Kelly as a trainee that I discovered my passion for Liaison Psychiatry. Chris has fantastic enthusiasm for everything he does and this rubbed off on me.
I really enjoy my work and I am surrounded by a great team. In ways Liaison is very different from other areas of psychiatry. You get to see clearly how mental and physical aspects of a patient’s health are interlinked and I find this integrated approach very rewarding.
Tell us about your involvement in the College?
The College has established a Sustainability Committee, tell us about your role as NI representative on this committee?
Part of practising sustainably is about being aware of the carbon footprint we create, but also more broadly about using resources wisely and equitably. This can be thought of from both an individual and organisational perspective. I am really pleased that the College has taken this initiative. It is fantastic to see our President Adrian James leading the way and it is a real sign of leadership - it’s vital that this message is related across the College locally and it would be really great if we could formalise this through a working group in RCPsych NI.
Find out more about the College's work on sustainability.