Health Interviews Lifestyle

A Day in the Life of Dr Kieran Kennedy – Medical Doctor, Mental Health Advocate, Author and Speaker

We have always been curious about what a typical day looks like in the life of a busy medical practitioner and with 2020 pushing science and medicine to the forefront of news and commentary across the globe, the spotlight has been focused on those in the medical industry.

Dr Kieran Kennedy is a registered medical doctor & practising psychiatry registrar working and living in Melbourne, with degrees in Psychology, Human Physiology, and Medicine/Surgery.

Kieran is passionate about all things health, with a particular focus and expertise in mental health and neurology. Alongside his medical work, Kieran has made moving outside the traditional medical box a mission, with an aim to break down barriers and advocate for health of body and mind combined. His personal interests in sport, exercise, and bodybuilding and fitness modelling, help fuel his firm belief that fitness on the outside begins on the inside. 

With a knack for converting evidenced based medical issues and academia into everyday language, and fresh and practical calls for health and wellbeing, Kieran has become a sought after media contributor, speaker, and author within domestic and international media and corporate landscapes. Kieran is also a published author for leading international medical organisations, with a recent textbook chapter on sleep medicine for the American Psychiatric Association Press.

We chat to him about what a busy day in his life looks like.

Morning Routine

Waking up with enough time to settle into the day and get myself mentally prepped is important to me. So I do my best (there’s definitely no perfection here, and it doesn’t always happen!) to get up around 6:30am so I’ve got a solid block of time to take my time. After getting showered and ready for the day I always include 10-20 minutes of meditation and some mental prep with a gratitude and intention journal. Breakfast is hands down my favourite meal of the day, and it’s as much about fuelling my brain as it is about my gym training. I usually tuck into a big meal of scrambled eggs, oats with fruit and nuts, and a protein shake. Like any doctor I’ll admit to needing a caffeine hit to start the day, and listening to a podcast or some feel good tunes while I get this down is a real treat.

I try to allow myself some time to be unplugged before the world rushes in, so keeping my phone on silent and emails/social media/text messages unchecked until I’ve got these basics done is key for me. From 0800 onward it’s a different story, as I leave the house and crack into the morning ward rounds. At the moment I’m working in a busy public hospital psychiatry department doing assessments and providing mental health care for patients admitted to the emergency department, ICU and/or medical/surgical wards.

Daytime Routine

The true gift of medicine, alongside my work with media and health advocacy, is that no one day is the same as another. I’ll start my day with clinical handover and ward rounds, and depending on the patients we’ve been referred and what’s on, my day will usually be a mixture of psychiatric assessments, reviews with patients, and liaising with medical and surgical doctors about how to best support their patients’ mental health needs.

Working in mental health is always a real challenge and it can be tough, but it’s an incredible privilege to be there with people in some of their toughest moments and to help them move through toward recovery. My day is always different and I’m eternally on my toes – from delirium after surgery, to assessments for suicide risk and safety or seeing someone with psychosis due to a brain tumour – but the opportunity I have to truly help others, and the fascinating medicine I’m confronted with on the daily, makes every minute worthwhile.

Across my day I’m also usually on the fly with advocacy and media work. Any one day might see me chatting to a radio station about mental health, finishing up a written piece for a magazine over my lunch break, or preparing for a podcast recording or TV segment. Juggling things means my days are usually hectic but it’s the way I like it. Patients and my hospital work always come first, but I really love the opportunity to get creative and push for health in some different avenues as well.

Evening Routine

My day usually finishes up with a clinic or assessments in the hospital, and it’s then time to shoot home and get ready to give my brain a bit of a rest. I’m an active relaxer and have always loved sport and fitness, so my daily workout at the gym or (during lockdown at least) at home with some weights is one of the solid fixtures to my day. After a workout I’ll cook a quick dinner, relax with a bit of TV and then settle myself into a few more hours of work.

This usually means a bit of study on cases I’m seeing across the week, or admin work toward my specialist training. My evenings are also my time for writing, podcast recordings or creating a bit of content for health advocacy on social media. It’s busy, but all things I truly love and get a lot out of – so in a way, it never feels like work.

I do my best to practice what I preach, and always make sure I’ve got at least an hour to wind down from the day before bed. Dimming the lights, listening to some music and finishing the day as I started it with meditation and a gratitude journal is the perfect way to ease into bed and hit it all again tomorrow!

To see more about Dr Kieran, follow him on Instagram here.

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