Helping One Family at a Time Part 2…

riley hospital logo

Hi everyone! Today I thought I would upload another post, because today is my BIRTHDAY! My twin and I are 26! Hard to believe just 26 years ago we were born. Austin and I have been blessed in so many ways. Anyway, here is the second part of Helping One Family at a Time.

While I completed my child development internship requirement in the summer of 2015, I completed my Family Studies Internship this summer (2016). I had the privilege to complete this internship, at a local children’s hospital that saved my life 26 years ago; Riley Hospital for Children.

Riley Hospital for Children first opened in 1924 in honor of James Whitcomb Riley. James Whitcomb Riley was a native Hoosier, a poet and he loved children. After Riley Hospital for Children opened, other memorials benefiting ill children were created. In 1955, Camp Riley was created. Camp Riley helps youth with physical disabilities have a memorable camp experience.

Riley Hospital for Children sees children from 92 Indiana counties, as well as other states and countries. Children visit Riley doctors more than three hundred thousand times each year.

Fun Fact: Within the library of Riley Hospital, there is a chest that contains index cards. On each index card are the names of the people who gave and the amount they gave to help break the ground for Riley. Back then the amount to break ground was $1000. No amount that was given was too small.

My internship experience…

For five weeks, I completed 200 hours with the Patient and Family Centered Care department. Patient and Family Centered Care at Riley Hospital for Children is a great tool for the families of the hospital. This department offers resources that families can learn from and take with them as they go throughout their stay in the hospital (i.e. care journals, materials regarding diagnosis, hot fresh coffee during coffee cart day and so much more). This department takes each families request, struggles or worries and makes it their TOP propriety. Patient and Family Center care advocates for the families and their ill child.

During the duration of my internship I had the opportunity to do the following and much, much more…

I rounded on hospital units and spoke with families about their experiences, determined if they were aware of available resources and provide access to helpful information based on family’s situation. I assisted with interviewing families and developed Ecomaps for those who have children with complex medical conditions. Throughout my internship, I shadowed selected members of the hospital staff to gain a better understanding of the variety of roles and how they partner with families (Family Support Nurse in the operating room, Behavioral Health, Child Life, Case Manager/Social Worker etc.).

I had many experiences that I will never forget. For example, I had the opportunity to shadow a family friend and see how she helped children with disabilities who were aging out of pediatrics make a smooth transition to adult healthcare. During one of my shadowing days (clinic day), I sat in on several appointments and watched the Social Worker (family friend), the doctor and nurse interact with these families. On one occasion, I was given the chance to use my American Sign Language skills, and communicate with a child who had Autism, Down Syndrome and was deaf. His parents were very grateful for not just having someone they could communicate with, but also for their son to communicate with. The patient was able to communicate with me and have a better clinic visit.

Another department I witnessed was surgery. This had to be one of the highlights of my internship. I observed many surgeries (heart, brain and spinal cord and a bladder being put back into the body). Not only did I witness these surgeries, but during this time I shadowed a family support nurse, and watched as she engaged with the families in the surgery waiting room, once every hour.

Throughout the five weeks of my internship, I engaged with families in many different ways and during different circumstances. I distributed several care journals and explained to the families that the journals were their key and their guide in recording what they ate that day, questions they had for the doctor, daily goals, notes and much more. Each time I distributed journals many families told me they were very grateful for the journal, because they had been writing notes on a napkin or were storing questions in the back of their minds to ask the doctor. Something so small can make all the difference.

Riley Hospital for Children is such a remarkable place and I am glad I have been able to give back in so many ways…

Hope Happens Here!


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