Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2009 Baltimore Meeting with APPD

Poster Presentation:


Jocelyn Schiller, MD, Jennifer Christner, MD, U of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

BACKGROUND: Exposure to pediatrics in the first two years medical school is often minimal. To increase second year students’ exposure and interest in pediatrics, an elective was created in collaboration with Child Life Services. Child Life services are an essential component of quality pediatric health care and are integral to family-centered care and best-practice models of health care delivery for children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2006 Policy Statement. A literature search revealed no publications on Child Life services in medical education. OBJECTIVES: A multidisciplinary committee developed and implemented an elective for second year medical students. Goals were to: 1) increase preclinical students exposure to pediatrics, 2) increase students comfort with children 3) develop students’ skills in communication with children and in patient relaxation. Description: Three 2-hour sessions were planned for October 2008. Prior to each session, students were assigned a small task such as exploring how a child might react in certain scenarios regarding illness. Developmental milestones were reviewed, particularly how children of various ages interpret illness and death. The interactive sessions with Child Life staff utilized a multitude of techniques to teach a variety of relaxation and coping skills. Examples of this include: 1) art therapy to explore children’s feelings in the hospital and the impact of hospitalization on child development, 2) music therapy 3) medical play to demonstrate procedures such as central line placement 4) use of cookies and candy to explain bone marrow. Results/CONCLUSIONS: Surveys before and after the course and final course evaluations will be used to analyze the impact of the course on student interest in pediatrics, perceived skills learned and overall content and delivery of the course. Child life staff may be underutilized as potential teachers in our pediatric student and resident programs. Programs that involve these staff may be another mechanism of exposing learners to key concepts in the Systems Based Practice competency.