The Psychiatry Interest Group Reading Program gives 1st and 2nd year medical school students the opportunity to interact with children on the inpatient child psychiatry unit while enriching the childrens’ hospital stay through a fun and educational activity.
General Program Procedures
Students will go in pairs to the inpatient child psychiatry unit to read to patients. Each student may read to one child or the pair can read to a group of patients. The nurses on the unit will assess the patients on the unit and determine the most appropriate group setting. Books are available in the game room.
When you arrive to the unit, use the phone outside to call the nurse desk and request to be let in. Make sure that you wear your badge. You will not be admitted if you are not wearing your badge. Also, please do not wear your white coat. Once you are in the unit, check in with the charge nurse. The charge nurse will orient you to the patient population and determine the best location for reading to the patients. You can read to the patients in the main room, on the porch, or in the game room.
Once you are done reading to the patients, be sure to tell the nursing staff. It is imperative that the nursing staff know what the children are doing and where they are at all times. Inform the nursing staff of any inappropriate or exceptional behavior. At the end of reading time, you may give the patients tokens to reward good behavior. The patients collect the tokens throughout their stay and turn them in for prizes. 10 pts. is the most a patient can get at one time.
You are encouraged to use WEBCIS to learn about the patients on the unit and to reflect on you interactions with them.
Generally, it is best to communicate with the children in a positive manner. For example, if a child is running instead of saying “stop running” say “I like it when you use your walking feet.” Or if a child is not listening to you when you are reading say “I like it when you use your listening ears.”
If a child discloses any information that seems inappropriate, pertains to abuse, or is hypersexual inform staff. Patient confidentiality must be breeched in this situation. It is in the child’s best interest to inform the staff. Avoid bodily contact with the children. If a child tries to give you a hug suggest a high-five instead. Lastly, it is not the student’s role to control any patients that become out of control. Simply walk away and remove any other children that may be in harms way and immediately notify staff.