The practicum program within the Hematology/Oncology department at Rady Children’s Hospital offers students a foundational training in specialized pediatric psychology. Pediatric psychology is defined by the APA as an integrated field of science and practice in which the principles of psychology are applied within the context of pediatric health. The field aims to promote the health and development of children, adolescents, and their families through use of evidence-based methods.
Training will specifically focus on the development of:
- Increased understanding of childhood cancers and blood disorders
- Understanding of the psychosocial, developmental and contextual factors contributing to the etiology, course and outcome of pediatric medical conditions
- Assessment and treatment of behavioral and emotional concomitants of illness
- Prevention of illness and injury as it relates to cancer and blood disorders
- Promotion of health and health-related behaviors
- Consultation with a multidisciplinary team
- Improvement of health care delivery systems that serves the needs of children, adolescents, and their families who experience childhood cancer and blood disorders
Working with pediatric hematology and oncology is extremely challenging. We urge every interested student to examine their own behavioral and cognitive coping prowess before considering a role here.
What to Expect
While this work will challenge you in many ways, it will likely also be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in your training journey. Here, we put the children first and do our very best to make the hardest time in their lives one with pockets of joy and rays of resilience!
Students will be providing services in an inpatient, outpatient, and clinic setting. This requires a great deal of time management and flexibility.
Clinical work expected is described in better detail below:
- Groups: We expect this to be a good portion of your work here. Psychotherapeutic groups assist in fostering many necessary clinical skills for independent practice. With the addition of students to our psychology team, there will be the availability to expand groups and allow for program development on behalf of the student. We anticipate the following groups to be fostered and carried out:
- Peer Support: these groups would focus on three diagnostic categories including young pediatric oncology patients (ages 6-12), hemophilia patients, and sickle cell disease patients.
- Sibling Support: these groups would focus on connecting siblings of those with pediatric oncology diagnoses
- Brief, Targeted Interventions for Emotional and Behavioral Dysregulation Secondary to Diagnosis and Treatment: Each student will be assigned several new diagnosis patients to follow while working here. The student will complete initial assessments to determine the psychological needs of the patient and their families. Following consultation with a staff psychologist, the student will employ interventions as appropriate. This may mean individual counseling, family support, or referral to more appropriate services. Services can be provided bedside or scheduled in advance for an outpatient appointment.
- Consultation: Psychology staff is expected to support nurses and physicians in their care of our patients. We play a unique role in psychoeducation of both the families and our team on etiologies of emotions/behaviors, and methods of intervention. Such consultation may be scheduled in care team meetings, or on an as needed basis in person or over the phone.
- Community Outreach: We anticipate opportunities to interact with outside agencies in support of our patients, including trainings provided to associations that supply resources to our families on a regular basis.
- Onboarding: student will need to complete the HC select process prior to the start of the practicum. This may take up to a couple months, so it is vital the student remain vigilant and compliant with all requirements. Such requirements include (but are not limited to): background check, TB testing, drug screening, etc…
- Special note: Please note that COVID-19 vaccinations are required to apply for this position and a full series must be completed prior to the start date. Currently, the student must also be masked at all times (besides actively eating or drinking) while on the RCHSD campus
2. In preparation for this site, the following readings are recommended:
- Handbook of Pediatric Psychology (PDF available)
- Comprehensive Handbook of Childhood Cancers and Sickle Cell Disease (Book Available)
- APHON Foundations Course Handbook
- All clinical documentation is expected to be done in a timely manner.
- Students are required to keep a weekly log of hours to be signed by the supervisor. It is the student’s responsibility to hold the logs and maintain them appropriately. Additionally, a shared excel spreadsheet will be maintained weekly for the supervisor to review; this can be found on the shared drive. These logs should contain the categories of intervention (face-to-face), support (non-intervention, assessment), individual supervision, and group supervision.
- G3 students are expected to complete 1000 hours during their practicum, ending no sooner than 9 months from their start date. It is expected that you follow through the length of your contract.
4. Professionalism: students are expected to respect professional guidelines of the hospital. This entails appropriate attire, courteous attitude, and a team work approach. Students will be expected to review the policies and procedures of the hospital and adhere to expectations: Policy Manager – MCN Healthcare (ellucid.com)
Consistent with APA Guidelines for Clinical Supervision in Health Service Psychology, this practicum views supervision as a collaborative relationship between a student and a supervisor that extends over time and that has both facilitative and evaluative components. The overarching goal of supervision is to guide the student toward achieving foundational competence in the provision of psychological health services.
Practicum students are required to receive 10% supervision time relative to number of hours worked per week (e.g., a student present for 20 hours must receive 2 hours of supervision). Supervisors and supervisees will meet in person individual for 1 hour per week, time and location to be mutually determined. Additionally, group supervision will occur for 2 hours per week. All supervision will occur with primary supervisor, who is a licensed psychologist of 3 or more years licensed.
The agency supervisor provides an evaluation of the student’s progress each semester. These typically occur in December and May. Together, the supervisor and supervisee will review the evaluation after it has been submitted. Supervisors agree to notify the Alliant Training Liaison immediately should any problems arise regarding a student’s performance rather than wait for the end of the semester.