What are Doctors who work in mental hospitals?
After I graduate high school, I want to go into Psychiatry. I want to specialize in schizophrenia, multiple personalities, and things such as that.
I want to become a doctor who works INSIDE the mental institutions, with the mentally unstable.
What would this type of doctor be called, specifically, and what courses in college would I need to take, specifically?
Would it be Consultation/Liaison?
Asked By: bri - 1/8/2012
To answer your question, specifically, you would be either a clinical psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. In reference to specific job titles, that really depends on the hospital.
The general, or typical, hierarchy (pecking order) of a mental hospital begins with, first, the nurses of various wards of the hospital.
If you were to go one step up, you would see what are called the "charge nurses" that are literally in charge of the nurses specific to that charge nurse's ward of the hospital. Since most hospitals have several different wards (also called departments), there would be several "charge nurses" at this level - one for each ward.
One step up again would take you to a superintendent nurse; he, or she, is the nurse that interacts with all of the charge nurses (picture a nurse at the executive seat of conference table with all the hospital's charge nurses present) so that the various wards of the hospital work together as needed. Also, this superintendent nurse is usually the middle man (or woman) between the charge nurses of the various hospital wards and the staff of doctors (of the types I already mentioned and also the assistant director(s) and director(s)).
One step up again would take you to the staff of doctors that are usually not confined to a specific ward, as are the on-staff nurses (simply because doctors are in such high demand).
One step up again would take you to the Assistant Director(s) of psychiatry, or Board of Assistant Directors of Psychiatry.
And, finally, at the top (though there may be some flexibility or slight differences here), is the Director of Psychiatry. (Keep in mind that, despite only mentioning psychiatry in the position's name, this position also includes directing psychologists at the hospital).
So, there you have it as far as the hospital hierarchy is concerned and the relevant job titles and position names for those at each level. For you, as on on-level doctor, you would either be called a clinical psychologist or clinical psychiatrist. This depends on one, simple theme: A psychiatrist treats mental illness primarily with medication and is not an expert in behavioral or cognitive therapy. On the other hand, a psychologist treats mental illness with several forms of talk-therapy, cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (and is usually considered an expert in some very specific fields of therapy); a psychologist does NOT treat the illness with medication.
Given these differences, you can now see the main difference between the two types of doctors. A psychiatrist can, and does, prescribe medication for use as therapy. However, a psychologist does not (and usually isn't licensed to do so). Rather, he treats his patients with various forms of talk-therapy or behavioral therapy. Therefore, a psychiatrist must have gone to medical school after graduating from college in order to get his M.D. or D.O. (which is required by the DEA to be licensed to write prescriptions). A psychiatrist must also have additional schooling (usually 2 - 4 more years including internship or residency), so he is trained in the field of psychiatry in addition to that of general medicine. Most psychologists, because they do not write prescriptions, do not attend medical school after college. Instead, they earn a master's degree and, in your case, would also have to earn a doctorate (Ph.D) in psychology in order to be a licensed, clinical psychologist working in a mental hospital. This would involve 5 - 7 years of additional schooling after graduating from college.
Required classes in college for medical school: This varies depending on the requirements of the medical school you wish to attend. I graduated pre-med in 2006 with a major in biology from Emory University (I studied pre-med/biology from 2002 - 2006). There were general guidelines as to what most medical schools in the U.S. would require that I used in addition to taking the required coursework to graduate and to do so with a B.S. in Biology. (So, three different things really!)
Coursework at Emory included:
* Biology: Cell and Development Biology with lab, Evolutionary Biology, Conservation Biology with lab, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Genetics with lab, Oncology, Biochemistry, and Human Physiology.
* Chemistry: General Chemistry I with lab, General Chemistry II with lab, Organic Chemistry I with lab, Organic Chemistry II with lab, and Biochemistry.
* Other Sciences: Physics I with lab, Physics II with lab, Neurobiology and Behavior I, and Food Toxicology & Ecology with lab.
Keep in mind that these are ONLY the science classes that I took at Emory and include none of my other classes. The only math course I had to take, it turned out, was Calculus!
Answered By: Nobody - 1/8/2012