I was looking through some old journals and found this letter in the October 2004 Clinical Psychiatry News:
I continue to be amazed that psychiatrists are so up in arms about having psychologists prescribe medications after added training in psychopharmacology (“Prescribing Law in Louisiana Rankles Psychiatrists,” July 2004, p. 1 ).
We have no one to blame but ourselves. For years we have been content to give away our reflex hammers and stethoscopes for a prescription pad, and now we wonder why we are not heard when we invoke that we are medical doctors. We now even claim that monitoring blood work on atypical antipsychotics puts us in the domain of primary care. I teach residents who all too soon forget the basics of medicine and then feel uncomfortable about treating even simple medical problems.
Before we become more defensive, maybe we need to look at our own houses first. Why not reintroduce the 1-year medicine requirement into our residencies and continue to make our residents and attendings handle medical problems in their patients? If we do this, then we can state that we are qualified to prescribe where psychologists are not. Until then, we will continue to lose one state after another and we will have only one another to blame.
John Norton, M.D.Jackson, Miss.-->
The letter was written by one of my colleagues, a neurologist/psychiatrist at the U of MS Medical Center. I agree with him that psychiatry residents need more internal medicine training. I think that an ideal internship for neurology and psychiatry interns would consist of 8 months of internal medicine, 2 months of neurology, and 2 months of psychiatry. Currently most psychiatry interns only receive 4 months of internal medicine experience during their internship.