Celebrate and Welcome the New Mascot!

Unbelievable…the psychiatry consult service already has a new mascot after the tragic loss of Nigella. We don’t know how an Apatosaurus (at least I think it’s an Apatosaurus) time-traveled from the sauropod age to the 21st century but it has a reason to celebrate anyway.

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Don’t blame me if it looks like a Brontosaurus. Blame the experts for calling it an Apatosaurus.

Now we’re scratching our heads trying to give it a name. Somebody has already suggested “Ernie” because it looks, well, Ernie-ish. On the other hand, we think the extra oval object might be an egg. I guess that means we might have to think of a name change similar to how Nigel was transformed to Nigella, based on the eye makeup.

On the other hand, if you think the lump is an errant turd, then the name Ernie could stick.

Incidentally it turns out our new mascot has a number of friends. Have fun figuring out in what time warp they’re all caught.

Land Before Time
According to Dr. Emily Morse, friends are: left to right it’s Spike (dark green Stegosaurus), Ducky (light green Saurolophus on Spike’s back), Cera (orange Triceratops), Littlefoot (brown Brontosaurus), Ruby is apparently the name of the pink Oviraptor, Petrie is the flying Pteranodon, and Chomper is the purple T-rex. They’re all friends in the film series The Land Before Time (the original was released in 1988 and was produced by George Lucas/Steven Spielberg). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095489/


What’s important is remembering the reason for the mascot in the first place. It’s for getting small, which means remembering not to take ourselves too seriously–something doctors tend to do frequently.

My firetruckEvery day psychiatric consultants are called to put out all kinds of fires, hence the fire truck images all over my desk. If we stopped and criticized every consult request, it would be a bit difficult to remember what the core competency of Professionalism might be about. While Professionalism is difficult to define, some emphasizing humanistic qualities of physicians over objective behaviors like good citizenship, most consultants would probably think it’s bad form to be highly and haughtily critical of what might be considered “bad” consult questions.

The many difficult questions consultants face are those in which there is no discernible question at all. It doesn’t help to stick a question mark at the end. It won’t make a sentence fragment a coherent, well-thought out genuine question. On the other hand, it really doesn’t help the patient to hassle with the consult requester over what exactly is the issue that needs resolving.

The psychiatry consult service is also a great setting for teaching and learning about the other core competencies as well: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Systems-Based Practice, Interpersonal Skills and Communication, and Practice-Based Learning and Improvement (of which our Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry or CPCP is a good example).

There’s no denying that it’s a hectic place to work. However, it’s one of the more interesting places to spend your days as a psychiatrist. So a mascot is just the thing to remind us to be mindful about what what Stephen Covey called our Circle of Influence and our Circle of Concern. Spending our energy on the problems over which we have influence is less tiring than wasting it on the issues over which we have no control. I can tell an internist or surgeon what delirium is not (it’s not a primary psychiatric problem per se; it’s safer to think of it as a medical emergency) quicker and with less angst than trying to figure out and solve the medical puzzle which is causing the delirium in the first place–by myself.

That can be hard to remember. That’s where the mascot comes in. Our new mascot, just like Nigella, will have to be taken for a walk on a weekly basis back across the hospital to the gift shop where a shot of helium will restore the deflated to the inflated–egos and mascot both.

That’s something to celebrate. Anybody out there think of a decent name for our new mascot?

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