Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ward Round

They lurch by,
Sulking faces peering in;
Threats uttered
Circumstantial, meandering the corridor.

He trudges in,
Dirty feet scuffing the linoleum
With filthy clothes
He faces us, staring: a king amongst mortals -
A crown of matted locks.

He speaks, of
Rights, wrongs
Ranting, raging
Raised voices

Silence

Explanations, medications
Benefits, side effects
Injection, Section
‘See you next week’.

Endless T.V.
Bouncing ping-pong balls
Cigarettes
Art therapy


Alex J Hamilton

5 comments:

Giskin said...

Wow, AJ. This is really thought-provoking and I love the rhythm.

Taz said...

I like the way the issue of the patient-doctor relationship is examined from both sides. The first three verses seem an almost paranoid reflection by the health professional of a psychiatric patient: "Threats uttered", "Dirty feet". These first few lines struck a chord with me as it exposes how vulnerable many juniors may feel in the psychiatric context. The last three verses, from the other side, seem more chaotic, jumbled, almost themselves like a flight-of-ideas so typical of manic patients.

This is a fab poem, and I agree with Giskin - the rhythm is great!

aj said...

Perhaps some context, for Grand Rounds readers:

Psychiatric Ward Rounds in the UK involve all members of the multidisciplinary team (Consultant Psychiatrist, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Pharmacist, Registrar, Senior House Officer, Social Worker, Psychologist, Medical Student). Patients come into a room to see us, rather than the conventional 'tour' around the bedsides.

These meetings explore the patient's progress and response to medications, their mental state is assessed and any side-effects noted. Often they are fairly repetitive affairs, with slow improvement seen over time.

Ward Rounds occur once per week, usually on a Monday morning.

Kim said...

Thanks for the context, it made a wonderful poem even more poignant.
And as an ex-psych nurse, I could really appreciate the visual images evoked.

Masum said...

I think it perfectly captures the first impressions of how those new to psychiatry (including patients) perceive ward rounds. It is a reminder of how important it is to always keep the patient in mind and of the importance of trying to foster a geninue trusting relationship with the patient - not easy when one is taking their liberty away! Masum