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Consult Liaison Psychiatrist: Education and Career Information

If you are interested in working in mental health and treating patients in diagnosing and counseling patients who have mental issues, you may want to pursue a career in psychiatry. These positions work in tandem with healthcare practitioners to assist patients.

What does a consult liaison psychiatrist do?

A consult liaison psychiatrist consults on cases that have displayed mental health elements. They generally work in healthcare facilities and are called to assist. This role is usually a collaborative one that works with a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, residents, medical students, doctoral interns, a triage nurse, clinical social worker and a nurse practitioner. They provide education, emotional support and assistance with treatment and discharge planning to the medical team caring for these patients through psychiatric and psychological consultation.

This position includes inpatient and outpatient duties, and medical and non-medical services. They treat patients with a proper treatment management schedule. They serve as residents, monitor psychiatric patients in healthcare facilities and can carry out psychiatric evaluations for employees, students or clients, and assist individuals in character development and self-improvement. A number of them work in private practice.

How much does a consult liaison psychiatrist make?

A consult liaison psychiatrist makes about $130,000 per year at the low end of the scale, but can make as much as $260,000 at the high end. The midpoint is around $184,000. This is contingent on the years of experience, the educational background, the location and facility where they work. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this career path follows an 18% job growth expectation through the year 2022.

What skills are needed to become a consult liaison psychiatrist?

Critical Thinking: You must use reasoning to locate and identify any strengths or weaknesses in the diagnosis and come up with viable solutions or alternatives to current issues.

Active Learning: In every patient, there is a learning curve. Being able to understand any new information that will assist in solving problems is key.

Problem Solving: This person must be able to identify problems and seek additional information to identify problems, seek a number of solutions, and determine which ones are the best to move forward.

Decision Making: It is important to be able to make sound decisions that will work in the best interest of the patient.

Time Management: Being cognizant of time is important. You will be responsible for juggling a number of people and projects at one time. You must have a knack for keeping everything running smoothly in various increments of time.

Public Speaking: Being able to speak to a number of people in a public setting is imperative. Psychiatrists deal with a diverse crowd and should be versatile enough to address any questions, and deal with them accordingly.

Effective Communication (Reading and Writing): This role must be able to comprehend different articles and other documentation with clarity and understanding, and be able to write well to provide information to others. It is crucial to be able to write for the needs of the audience, and apply both reading and writing effectively for work.

Monitoring: Being able to monitor and assess the performance of the treatment plans, the group and any recommendations is necessary.

Science: As a psychiatrist, knowing how to apply scientific methods and rules is necessary to be effective in this position. As things change with the trends, it is important to be scientifically in tune with how these will be used for the betterment of treating patients.

Instructing: It is important to be able to instruct others on how to do certain things, work on treatment plans, and get everyone on the same page. It is imperative that this role has a firm understanding on how to educate others.

Negotiation: Negotiation plays a big part of getting others on board to make a difference in the development and treatment of patients.

Internship Requirements

There is a clinical residency component that is required during and after medical school is completed. The amount of training in the internship is contingent upon the school, and requirements of that specific specialty.

Education Requirements

The first step is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Students should pursue their education in the fields of chemistry or biology, and humanities. Classes in communications, advanced mathematics, anatomy and other related fields should be taken.

Once the bachelor’s degree is almost finished, students should sit for and take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which will measure writing, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and knowledge of your scientific background. This is an aptitude test that medical schools consider for admission, in addition to transcripts, letters of recommendation and other criteria.

Once in medical school, students will be pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree. This is a four-year program. Aspiring psychiatrists receive the same training as students interested in studying other branches of medicine. Common courses taken during the first two years of study include:

•Anatomy
•Physiology
•Biochemistry
•Pharmacology
•Psychology
•Medical ethics

During the final two years of the program, students work in clinical settings. There they are exposed to various fields of medicine, including family practice, obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics and psychiatry.

Clinical Residency in Psychiatry

While completing a psychiatric residency program, graduates will go through additional training and education needed to work as a psychiatrist. Admission to residency programs can be competitive and is based on performance in medical school and scores received on medical board exams.

Residents are typically paid salaries to work in hospitals and clinics. In addition to practical work, residents complete further academic study and attend lectures and seminars in order to keep abreast of advancements in the field. During the first year of the program, psychiatric residents could engage in foundational study in medicine, neurology, psychiatric emergencies and substance abuse.

The second year introduces practice in psychotherapy with actual patients under the supervision of a licensed physician or psychiatrist. During the third year, they might focus on specific topics, such as child, adolescent or geriatric psychiatry. The final year is often devoted to developing additional areas of professional interest.

Licensing and Certification

Psychiatrists, like all medical doctors, must be licensed by the medical board of the state in which they plan to work. Once licensed, they can become board certified by taking certification exams through organizations, such as the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology or the American Board of Physician Specialties. Psychiatrists can earn certification in general psychiatry or choose a sub-specialty, such as addiction, forensic, geriatric or adolescent psychiatry. The tests cover general psychiatric topics including:

•Developmental psychology
•Behavioral sciences
•Public policy
•Diagnostic procedures
•Psychiatric disorders
•Child abuse

Psychiatry Scholarships

American Psychological Foundation Scholarships Association of Black Psychologists Epilepsy Foundation
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship Future Counselors of America Scholarship Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship
Kay Wilson Presidential Leadership Award NIH Undergraduate Scholarship NAJA Graduate Scholarship
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Psi Chi Awards and Grants Wayne F. Placek Grants

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