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A Week in Psychiatry with Greta Murauskienė


In each issue we ask one of our colleagues to write a contribution about the week at their job. Although we are all psychiatrists, our days and conditions vary a lot. It is therefore both interesting and inspiring to read what daily life is like to our colleagues. This time, Greta Murauskienė gladly agreed to describe her work week.


It's morning time. As I get up, it's still dark outside. I take my dog out for a walk and then prepare for the day. I need to be at the hospital at 8 a.m. I am in my last year of psychiatry residency, and this is my last rotation on the acute psychiatry unit. Even though acute psychiatry is my first love, I can’t wait for this rotation to be over. In fact, I can’t wait for residency to be over as I will be able to make my own decisions. Mostly what I do is charting, writing progress notes and patient histories and all the decision-making is on the attendings. After the work is done, I head home. Having had a quick lunch, I sit down to do paperwork for forensic psychiatry job where I am currently a trainee. On Mondays I also go to a private clinic where I consult as an assistant psychiatrist. My day usually ends at 9 p.m. It's been nothing but work. My husband works from home most of the days so there's no need to worry about my dog: she is living her best life


My morning looks roughly the same. After I finish working at the acute psychiatry unit, I go home and have a slow lunch as well as take the dog for a walk. If I still feel tired after Monday, I take a quick nap and read a book. Currently I am obsessed with ‘Summerhouse: The social history of Vilnius psychiatric hospital, 1944—1990’ a book by Lithuanian history professor Tomas Vaiseta. Before getting into medical school, I really loved reading, but I completely abandoned it because I had to read so much for classes that when there was some free time, I couldn’t bear to even think about opening a book. After getting some time to myself, I get back to work. Usually, I spend most of my time on Tuesdays on remote forensic psychiatry paperwork: studying civil and criminal cases and patient files, writing mental state opinions, evaluations, and recommendations. Everything I write needs to be checked and signed by a forensic psychiatry expert, so I send everything to my mentor and wait for her notes. I finish working at about 7 p.m. If the weather is nice, me and my husband take our dog for a long walk, and watch some kind of show (at the moment it’s ‘Dopesick’ on Hulu).


Greta Murauskienė.
Greta Murauskienė.

Morning. It’s my favourite kind of day work wise. I go to the National Forensic Psychiatry Service Under the Ministry of Health’s office. It’s in the city centre and I live in the old town,so the office is just a brisk twenty-minute walk away from my home. I love it. I dreamt about living in the old town since I was a kid (now I dream about living in the country, less Sex and the city and more Beatrix Potter). I always buy me some kind of ridiculous coffee with lots of cream and sprinkles and whatnot. When I get to the office me and my mentor discuss the work, I have sent her and plan our day. We start reading the cases of people that will come in for an evaluation. We see them, talk to them, I make some notes that I later use for studying and writing up their mental status. In case I feel a little low after performing the evaluations, I grab some food to go whilst on my way home, sit on the couch and watch some feel good show while hugging my dog. Usually, I do that if at work I encounter someone extremely violent. I used to feel low all the time after work when I started residency – all the pain and suffering that you are exposed to on daily basis just gets to you. But later I got used to it and even though from time to time there is a patient that I think about a lot, on most of the days I don’t bring my work back home. Turns out, it’s just a skill like any other. I know that I will get used to the specific nature of forensic psychiatry, I just need more time since I only started working there a month ago. I continue working on forensic cases back home and later in the evening I go to a therapy session. Started seeing my psychoanalyst about a year and a half ago, one of the best decisions I have ever made.


Morning. Usually by Thursdays I start hitting the snooze button and it takes me some extra effort to roll out of bed. Acute psychiatry. Head home. Forensic psychiatry. Private clinic. When I first started working there, I was nervous. Nowadays I come in, make myself a cup of coffee, look through the patient list for the day, read my notes that I made on the previous consultations and remember what my patients look like, what kind of things we talked about, what was the atmosphere during the consultation, what did I recommend. Then the patients start coming (or calling) in: we talk, we laugh, sometimes they cry, and I try to comfort them, but we always come up with a plan on what to do next. I usually consult for about 4 hours and make progress notes for another hour. After finishing up I go home, eat dinner, and watch some so bad its good reality TV (or as I like to call it – pursue my hobby of the phenomenon that is pop culture).


Morning. Hit the snooze button a couple of times, roll out of bed on the last buzz. Acute psychiatry unit. Spirits are usually high among staff on Fridays (except for those who are on call). Go home. Psychotherapy session again. I see my therapist two times a week, but from the next month I will see her once a week. After the session I am free as a bird because all the carefully pre-planned activities are done with. On this Friday I am meeting my childhood friend who lives abroad and is back in Lithuania for a week. She is a gender studies major and now works at a university. Sometimes it is still hard for me to comprehend that we are all grown-up and are actually doing the things we said we will do while we were in high school.


I have a strict no work on weekends policy (unless it is absolutely crucial and can’t be done in any other time). Wake up late, my husband usually brings fresh buns from a bakery from just around the corner. We drink coffee and watch “Drive to survive”, new season just dropped on Netflix and it is my husbands endless effort to get me into watching Formula 1. Unfortunately, all his efforts are unsuccessful, and this show is the only Formula 1 related thing that I watch. Take a long bath, meet my friends. We met during med school and most of our friend group works in the medical field except one friend who is an architect, sometimes I don’t know how she puts up with us lot. Have a couple of drinks, share some stories and some worries. Come back home a little too late but its worth it every time.


Wake up even later, have coffee and go for a walk. On Sundays we do the weekly shopping and then I like to lose myself in cooking an elaborate dish (by elaborate I mean time consuming, this week it was Beef bourguignon). While I cook, my husband cleans and once we’re finished, it’s time to have a nice peaceful dinner while the dog begs for beef. We usually don’t make any plans for Sundays and spend the day doing sweet little nothings, just the three of us. Used to blame myself for being unproductive but then I understood that occasionally doing nothing is what enables me to do everything. And everything starts all over again on Monday. □


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