Feeling the fear
Stephen and I ran a health professionals training day on 14th December at Waikato hospital Bryant Education Centre. The topic of the day was; “When you feel the fear and have to do it anyway”.
The child’s, families and health professionals perspectives were covered. Children often inform us that they have “sick feeling in my tummy” and it is essential that we recognize and attend to their fear. The reality of fear for sick children and their families was acknowledged. Dr Jik Loy (Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist) spoke on the role of psychiatry in supporting children with significant anxiety and fear issues related to illness and treatment.
He reminded us of the importance in recognizing the vulnerabilities of children and the psychological factors that affect a medical condition, and the interface between mind and body.
In relation to the health professionals perspective “When you’re the scary one, and you’re scared too” we focused on how we might unintentionally add to fear in children, what we can do about that and how we can support ourselves in our own fear.
In summarizing the day the generic points were:
* We all experience fear and it is mostly a healthy response
* There is always a reason for a child’s fear even if it doesn’t make sense to us
* Supporting the whole family helps reduce fear in the sick child
* How we are with a child makes a difference
* We need to pay attention to our own fears