Consultation-liaison (C-L) psychiatry, also called psychosomatic medicine, is a branch of psychiatry that focuses on the interface between medicine and psychiatry. C-L psychiatric nurse practitioners (NP) typically work at a general hospital and serve as expert psychiatric consultants for the medical staff. They see patients with comorbid psychiatric and medical conditions, patients whose medical condition is causing a psychiatric condition, and patients with psychiatric conditions that present with physical symptoms.
I worked on an innovative and collaborative team of C-L psychiatric providers including social workers, counselors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians. Each day, 20 to 30 consults would come in and be divided among the team. I would arrive at 0730 hours, check my email and await the buzzing of my pager, alerting me to my first consult.
Each day was a surprise, sending me on foot across the hospital network and across medical specialties. On an average morning I would be in the ER, burn unit, ICU/PICU/NICU/SICU, labor and delivery rooms, and dialysis unit providing expert psychiatric consultation to the medical team. A day was not complete without a case of complex delirium, alcohol withdrawal, suicide attempt, and postpartum depression....
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