November 2nd, 2009

asylums and crazies oh my

While I think the 'psychology & psychiatry' tag has more than enough information on actual psychological disorders I might want to use in my story, my question is a more technical one, relating to the actual practice: how would a fresh psychology doctorate (completed a Ph. D and the minimum of required clinical training, but no direct practice) set about getting herself employed at an asylum for the criminally insane? Is it even proper to call them that, or has a more politically correct term come into vogue?

I'm primarily interested in how the typical process of becoming employed at such a facility goes-- I assume that there's an interview process and that there's a more favorable chance of being hired a such an institution if one has a recommendation from a senior member of the faculty. Beyond that, however, I have little idea of how it goes-- not even what daily life for a doctor in an asylum might be like. Is there a pecking order? Is there some unspoken rule about how long they should be in residence before they're allowed to work with the patients? How many patients would they be expected to work with?

The setting is modern-day, incidentally, though I wouldn't mind historic references on the subject as well. The asylum's a well-kept, private facility-- naturally, of course, the plot hinges on how not everything is what it seems.

tl;dr: How would fresh doctorate [apply/get accepted] for a position at a ward for the criminally insane, and what would his/her daily life at such an institution be like? I'd appreciate any information that could be thrown my way-- even recommendations on testimonies/memoirs/fictional stories that could shed more light on the subject. /o/

ETA: Answered! Thank you! :D
1st level

Car troubles: need an easy to fix problem?

When: modern day, USA.
What: I'm writing a story where character A helps character B with some car troubles. Character B is on a roadtrip with someone else.
I want the problem to be something that can be fixed really quickly, but is enough to stop character B. What are the effects of the problem? What needs to be fixed and how does character A go about it?
Something that can be fixed with a neat little homespun trick would be nice too, but isn't entirely necessary. For example, I think I saw something in a movie where you pour soda on the car battery to get rid of lime buildup. Though I'm not sure how true that is....
Another thing, the weather is really hot and it's dusty, so that could contribute to the problem. Car is fairly old.

Any ideas?

How I searched: skimmed book on car parts and repair, googled common car problems and easy to solve car problems
I am a girl of the future

Walking vs. Horses

Setting: European mishmosh fairytale land, among a main trade route. No particular time, but vaguely before the Renaissance.

Summary of research: Looking up how fast people walk. Trying to remember own experiences with hiking. Looking up how fast horses could potentially run.

My question: About how far could a reasonably fit human walk, with a bedroll and not much else on their back on smooth terrain (i.e. a main road), in a day, pausing for rests and lunch and such? About how far could one person on a horse, trying to hurry but not hurt their horse, get in the same amount of time--allowing for rests and lunch and such?

The problem is that I'm not much of a hiker or a horseperson--I can figure out how far a person walking 3 mph or a horse going 15 mph can go in a day, but I don't know how much time to allow for getting tired and going slower, or reasonable times to let a horse rest. I don't need exact times, just estimates from anyone who might be more experienced than I.