Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Look At The Bigger Picture

As an intern, I was mostly interested in seeing procedures, surgeries, traumas, etc.  I learn by observing first-hand so these things appealed to me.  Even as an experienced child life specialist, I feel most helpful in the 'action', which is what drew me to the PICU.

One day, as an intern, there was a procedure I had hoped to observe.  I knew about it the day before and had spent that evening planning my approach, what I would need for teaching and distraction and how I would advocate.  The time came for the procedure and my supervisor sent me to another patient to asses her needs and build rapport.  To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  Not only was I missing out on something exciting, but I spent the next two hours beading string for necklaces with a 7 year old.

In that moment I was annoyed and wondered if my supervisor thought I wasn't able to handle the procedure.  After I expressed my concerns and she told me she thought the 7 year old was a higher priority and asked me why that might be.  I had no idea.  I couldn't even make something up.  She didn't answer the question for me, but by the end of the week I knew.

The 7 year old had little family support, English was not her primary language and her new diagnosis would require multiple procedures over the next couple days.  By taking time to make a necklace when the stress level was moderately low, this child and her mom trusted me when things got hard.  They invited me to be a part of their team and allowed me to advocate for their needs when they didn't know how.  My supervisor had the experience to know what the patient's symptoms may require and she could see the bigger picture.


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