Spring Grove Hospital Review

This was my first rotation, so I don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but I’ll give the best overview that I can.

Campus: Spring Grove is located in Catonsville, MD on an old civil war era campus. Quite the historic place and even has a museum open on Thursday mornings that I would suggest getting to one week if you like history. There is a Cafe on the campus that is open for breakfast and lunch in which students get 30 meal tickets for $5 off each meal. The food is pretty good and they offer quite a few choices. You can even call in your order and pick it up. The campus has its own police (not rent-a-cops either) that are constantly patrolling around and makes the area seem pretty safe. The campus is pretty large and I would suggest having a car to drive to your unit, but there is a good chance you can bum a ride with someone that you will be working with.

I was fortunate enough to get the free housing that is available in 2 cottages on campus. One of the cottages had 6 bedrooms and the other had 5. They are fully furnished with all the bedding, linens, cookware, silverware, etc.. that you’d ever need. There is a house computer/ printer that you can use to print reports you have worked on or whatever. It has Directv and a flat screen TV in the living room that you’ll have to share with your roommates. Overall I don’t have a bad thing to say about the cottages, they are pretty nice and was a good way to bond with other students from the various Caribbean schools (SGU, Ross, and Saba).

Units: Spring Grove is made up of different types of care units all across the campus. Majority of students are placed in an admissions unit where they see the new patients come in and keep them there up to about 2 months. There was also a student who worked an adolescent unit who dealt with a lot more behavioral problem type patients than pure psychosis. I however was 1 of 2 students who worked on a Continued Care Unit who had patients that had been there up to 6 or 7 years. Since this is a state hospital, you will deal with patients who have been sent here by a judge in order to assess their competency to stand trial or who have been civilly committed.

Work: I can only attest to the work that me and the other student with me had to do, but it is very much attending and unit specific. My attending was known to be one of the tougher ones and required more out of us. He would assign homework assignments about once a week. He would also give pop quizzes about once a week as well. Over the course of 6 weeks, we did a whole psychiatric/mental status interview on 5 patients each (1 per week after the first week). We then would have to meet with all of our patients every week and write a SOAP progress note about them as well. So by the end of the rotation, I wrote 6 patient write ups (my 5 +1 of my peer’s) and about 15 SOAP notes.

Average Day: The first week was merely an observation week to get oriented to the unit and how they work. We would start every day at 8am and the first hour would be spent reading up on our patients, taking quizzes, or out interacting with patients until 9:00 morning report. After morning report, the treatment team (Psychiatrist, Social Worker, a Nurse, Students, and sometimes a Psychologist) would see patients who had signed up to be seen or who needed to be seen for various reasons such as going over their Individualized Treatment Plan. That would usually take the whole morning and we’d go to lunch at noon. After lunch was when we would either do patient interviews, write SOAP notes, or attend groups. We’d get to leave at about 4:30 every day or whenever our attending left for the day.

Lectures: There is a lecture series that the students are scheduled to attend throughout the 6 weeks. Most of the lectures are front loaded to the first couple weeks in order to give you more time towards the end when you have more unit responsibilities. Overall the lectures were pretty good, focused on different psychiatric diagnosis and psychopharmacology. There was also grand rounds every Thursday that would bring in a different speaker to talk about a different topic (none of the ones I attended really dealt with psychiatry) .

Conclusion: Overall, I think this was a really good rotation. I felt like I was part of the team and that my opinion was taken seriously when treating patients. My unit didn’t have any residents and I enjoyed being able to work directly with the attending. At first, I didn’t think I liked the idea of pop quizzes and homework… but they did keep me on my toes and made me stay up on my studies. I did very little if any scutwork, but I had heard that other units were required to make copies, fax documents, etc. I felt like I learned quite a bit about psychiatry and even a little bit about the legal system,which interested me. I received good feedback and constructive criticism that will help me in the rotations I have to come.

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