The Conjunction Between Teaching and Medicine in the Hospital School Program at DCH

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 During my time at DCH as cliché as this may sound, everyday poses new challenges and learning opportunities in teaching and medicine. Today I met new students, who I will hopefully have a chance to work more with consistently with in the next couple weeks. The connections between the physicians, nurses, social workers, hospital schoolteachers and schoolteachers is a vital part of the care at DCH for patients and students. In this blog I will outline some of the accommodations that occur once children return to their school after being discharged from the hospital.

This week the census has been low, although the classroom always seems to bring in new faces. Today the Master Gardeners came and had content and activities that focused on the water cycle. Class starts at 10:00am, although today many students required bedside teaching because they were in isolation, modified isolation or didn’t feel well enough to come to the classroom. 10:20am came around an still there were no students in the classroom, twiddling my thumbs I began to make a mobile of drawings of the water cycle that I then attached to a hanger. Then one of the students that arrived later got to take the mobile back to their room. The connections once again between the school and the patient environment is essential to helping the children stay engaged and social while in the hospital.

Another student came in later as well. The student was young and has Downs Syndrome. Downs Syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays as well as mental retardation, and the disorder ranges from mild to severe. I haven’t been in contact with many individuals with Downs in my life so I’m unaware as to whether the student I worked with today has mild or severe, although the child was minimally verbal and understood basic concepts for their age. The best part about working with kids is how honest, resilient and optimistic most of them are. The child with Downs today never revealed any other expression besides a wholesome genuine smile.

In addition, there was a student today who had just have a baby, and is a new teen mom, trying to complete her schooling, but has great support through her school. It is interesting to see how varied the education as well as family support systems can be on just one floor in the hospital.

Next week I will be working in the oncology and hematology section of the hospital. Today I met a student in the hospital for chemotherapy treatment, and I felt as though I was beginning my project all over again. On the first day, a student arrived with an IV pole and a feeding tube, and honestly it was a shock for me to see. I had expected these types of circumstances, but the reality is much greater than any thoughts about my project. The lump that accumulated in my stomach is hopefully masked on the outside, as you never want the student to feel like you are uncomfortable or nervous. Today we were also taking down some old pictures of children who have been involved in the Hospital School Program, and I heard of one who passed away of cancer. These stories make the connections between the doctors and teachers essential to help the patient, student and family cope with their time in the hospital. Meeting the student in oncology today was a shocking experience, although I imagine next week will bring more difficult emotional situations.

When considering how the different divisions communicate with each other it is all in the best interest of the patient. The physicians, nurses and social workers alert the teachers to any circumstances that may impact the child’s learning abilities and that is taken in high consideration when educational services by the Hospital School are provided. For example for a child that is recovering from a traumatic accident and has endured a severe head injury will be evaluated differently, since the head injury may have impacted their academic abilities. Also then the teachers in the Hospital School Program would work with the child’s school and try and solidify some concrete accommodations like extended time, lighter assignments and more individualized attention. Once again the connections within the hospital are vital to the care of the patient.

The relationships that are formed between the different groups that contribute to the care of patients at DCH is essential to the emotional, physical and mental well being of the patient and their families.