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Letters to the Editor
Invest in Our Patients' Future
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 13 page 47-47

I would like to applaud the efforts of Psychiatric News to keep psychiatrists informed about legislative developments on granting psychologists prescriptive authority. Scope-of-practice concerns have been plaguing many medical specialties, and physicians and patients both will pay a high price if we do not continue to work to defeat them.

While psychiatry is so much more than the prescribing of psychotropic medications, pharmacotherapy is an integral part of the practice of psychiatry and is what attracted me to this field when I was in medical school. Psychiatry deals with some of the most complex structures in the body. Unlike most other medical specialists, we may spend hours discussing everything from the receptor profiles of these medications to their symbolic meaning. We have even written volumes on single medications such as lithium.

Because psychotropic medications have significant effects throughout the body and not just in the brain, their management requires the well-rounded knowledge of psychiatrists. A 24-month crash course in pharmacology will never be able to provide the knowledge and experience necessary to manage these medications properly. I have been studying pharmacology for seven years, first as a medical student and now as a resident, and I continue to learn new intricacies about them on a daily basis.

I recently received a letter from APA urging me to donate to the Fund to Defeat Psychology Prescribing. Even though I am a resident with limited income, I will gladly donate and urge all psychiatrists to do the same. We should do this for our patients: they deserve the highest quality of care that only psychiatrists can provide.

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