What LP did you do?
I did my LP with a Physician in a Child Maltreatment Assessment Program.
How did you go about contacting and arranging the LP?
At our Interprofessional Education Day I met the head of the program and started chatting with her about pediatrics and her maltreatment assessment program. I asked if I could do an LP with her and she was very excited to have a PA since they had never had one before. She gave me her e-mail and phone number and we coordinated weekly half days for 4 weeks.
What were the two main things you learned from this LP?
1. How one approaches the various assessments. For example the physical exam, observing family interactions, interviewing parents, and debriefing with the team. Also always keeping an OPEN mind.
2. How a multidisciplinary approach is very important, particularly in this domain. I was able to observe the interaction between pediatricians, psychologists, nurses, and child life specialists (I had never met one before so this was VERY exciting!).
What did you wish you knew to help you in your LP?
We had not done our psychiatry unit yet and I think that would have helped when sitting in on interviews to understand the types of questions asked and the flow of the interview. Also being familiar with the different types of maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect), the warning signs, and the major repercussions would have helped a lot.
How has this experience helped you clinically, in class and/or in career decision making?
This experience showed me how to go about addressing such a touchy subject in clinical practice, as I was able to see the different approaches taken by each of the staff. I think it also helped emphasize the importance of a humanistic approach to healthcare, which can sometimes be forgotten when you are pulling your hair out trying to understand the pathophysiology of the illness with which you are presented. I was also able to see how Children’s Aid Society referrals worked, meeting a few case workers throughout the observership. I found this helpful because we discussed it briefly in our Professional Competency class, but I think it is something you should be comfortable with for practice.
Any other comments?
I have always been fascinated with children and I love their brutal honesty and humor. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this LP was to see if I was able to handle the challenging, serious and sad side of pediatrics. The cases were definitely heartbreaking, but this group works hard to help children escape these incredibly vulnerable situations, and that to me was the most amazing thing to witness.