Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:June 23rd, 2015 20:40 EST
Let Your Patients Be Your Motivation

Let Your Patients Be Your Motivation

By SOP newswire2

With 25 physicians in the family, including her mom and dad, the last thing Judith Orloff wanted to be when she grew up was a doctor. I thought physicians were incredibly nice, but I found them to be a little boring, " she says. But one day, she heard a voice telling her that she would, in fact, join the family trade. Intrigued, she signed up for a course at a community college, which eventually led to medical school at the University of Southern California, an internship at Wadsworth Veterans Hospital and a residency at the University of California " Los Angeles. These days, Orloff is a motivational speaker, writer ( Emotional Freedom, " her book on inner peace, is a New York Times bestseller), an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and a practicing psychiatrist in Santa Monica, California. 

Psychiatrists are physicians that diagnose, treat and work to prevent disorders relating to the mind and mental health. Having undergone medical school and psychiatry residency programs, these professionals are equipped to understand the complex relationships between ailments of the mind and body. They are also trained to evaluate the entire spectrum of a patient`s health, make a diagnosis and design a treatment plan. Patients might suffer from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, and receive a form of treatment known as psychotherapy " a fancy word for meetings in which a patient discusses his or her moods, problems and feelings with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can also prescribe a wide range of drugs or even recommend hospitalizations. 

Orloff hopes that more psychiatrists will take into account a patient`s whole mind, body and spirit when evaluating, diagnosing and treating a patient. Integrating traditional medicine with complementary practices like energy work, spiritual beliefs, yoga and meditation is the best road [to treating patients], " she says. 

The BLS expects this profession to grow by 16.2 percent from 2012 to 2022, resulting in 4,400 new jobs. These healthy figures might be attributed to the growing number of patients with mental health issues, particularly as the population both increases and ages. 


Psychiatrists made a median wage of $181,880 in 2014. And although they`re most often employed in private practice, state governments and home health care services tend to compensate these professionals the best. Psychiatrists are also paid handsomely in California, particularly in the metropolitan areas of Riverside, Oakland and Vallejo.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $187,199
Median $181,880
25th Percentile $116,540


Prospective psychiatrists will have to make their way through an undergraduate program, take the Medical College Admission Test and complete four years of medical school " and they shouldn`t expect any of it to be a cakewalk. I had a hard time at med school, " Orloff says. I failed my first bio-chem exam. " But the hope of getting to help patients gave Orloff the drive to stick with all the science-heavy courses. What really saved me was the first time I ever sat next to a patient and heard a patient`s story, " she says. That`s what won me over, the stories, the incredibly raw emotions. " 

After medical school, psychiatrists must complete a residency program, in which they work directly with patients under the supervision of licensed psychiatrists. To become licensed, these professionals must take the multi-step U.S. Medical Licensing Exam and also receive board certification through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. If psychiatrists want to subspecialize, they must complete a fellowship in an area such as forensic psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine or addiction psychiatry, among other subspecialties.

Reviews and Advice

Psychiatrists can rely on connections they`ve made in residency programs to find work. The American Psychiatric Association is another good source for job openings. According to the BLS, most psychiatrists are employed in private practice, either opening their own or joining an existing practice. But these doctors are also employed by psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, general medical and surgical hospitals and outpatient care centers. Some go into research or academia. 

No matter the position, Orloff recommends: Let your love of patients guide you, and listen to your intuition about what jobs feel right for you. " There`s no doubt that this profession can be emotionally taxing, and Orloff warns against going into it for the wrong reasons: You`ve got to let the patients be your motivation [and] the work be your satisfaction, " she says. 

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility Average
Stress Level Above Average
Flexibility Average

Source: US News