D Currin, MPH; M Lawless, MD; M Wofford, MD. Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Background: COMSEP Curriculum emphasizes “knowledge, skills, clinical reasoning, and informed decision making are crucial, yet insufficient, to guarantee successful clinical interactions.” Equally important is to develop interactive skills with patients and understand the impact of family, community and society on child health and well being. Pediatrics poses unique challenges due to wide range of patient encounters and concerns: infant/young child - nutritional and developmental; older child - family relationships, peer relationships, school progress; adolescent - personal habits such as sexual activity and use of tobacco, alcohol/drugs.
Objectives: 1) students will develop awareness of communication challenges influenced by cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors; 2) students will learn about community resources and the role of advocacy; 3) students will improve ability to create therapeutic relationships based on tolerance of differences and willingness to listen.
Methods: Provide opportunities to explore the community outside the hospital and to gain understanding of the physical and social surroundings of families. Students interact with children who may have functional impairments related to chronic illness, disabilities due to birth defects or trauma, who are at risk for emotional or social distress, as well as children who are well and “typically” developing. Provide conferences on normal and abnormal development, living with disabilities; cultural and socioeconomic issues; behavioral pediatrics and child abuse; ethical and legal issues in pediatric practice; and child advocacy practices in our community and state. Students give oral and/or written presentations regarding their experiences.
Conclusions: Students report increased awareness and empathy through exposure to lifestyles and living conditions not otherwise available to them, appreciation of interdisciplinary professional relationships, and more confidence in patient interactions.