Personal Life Update 2
For my second personal life update post, there is a lot to cover! As I mentioned in my last post, this time of year is filled with transitions for doctoral students in clinical psychology. With the start of the new month comes the start of new externships, training, and meeting a lot of new people. It's an exciting time, but one that is busy (which is why I was a few posts short this week)!
This past week, I began my training to start my new externship at the University of Chicago Medicine. Previously I was doing pediatric neuropsychological assessments (basically, testing kids to see how they are functioning cognitively, academically, emotionally, etc.). I'll still be doing some of that work with my previous supervisor, with some more advanced cases, but my main responsibilities have now shifted.
One day of the week, I will be working in the hematology/oncology (hem/onc for short) unit, meeting with families and offering to talk with them about the child's diagnosis, how they are handling things, and what the psychology/psychiatry team may be able to do to help. Later on that same day of the week, I will be working on consultation/liaison work, which is definitely very exciting. If physicians have any concerns about patients that they think the psych team may be able to help with, they page me (yup, that's right, I've got a pager now, because that's how high-tech we are) and I will be working with the psych team to help with the situation in any way we can! Then, on another day, I'll be meeting with patients for outpatient therapy, and I'll be getting additional training.
It's going to be a big, but welcome, shift in my clinical work. Neuropsych assessment has been great, and I've learned a lot, but a part of me has definitely missed therapy. I'm especially excited because this is the population I'm most interested in working with, and this will be my first real chance to work with the population in-depth.
As I go through my training and start to think more about some of these topics again, I'll try to write posts about them. Pediatric psychology has to work with a wide range of aspects related to medical conditions, including uncertainty, pain, visibility, cognitive/physical/social impairments, altered relationships, and many others.
Plus, a lot of psychology-related things will be on my mind because I'm starting to study for the comprehensive exam (or just "comps" for those of us who have the...pleasure of taking the exam). Considering one of the best ways to learn is to teach, I may use this blog as an opportunity to write informational posts as a study method. If I do, I'll make sure it's easy to read for those who aren't in the field, and I'll continue to stick with my posting schedule so I'm not spamming you all with too many comps-related posts!
Hmmm...other updates...there are so many things going on that it's getting hard to keep track of what's happened recently!
Another new update is that I'm fairly confident that I know the topic for my dissertation...sort of. My current plan (and my final plan, unless I run into a major roadblock...fingers crossed I don't) is to do a meta-analysis. Meta-analyses look at a large number of research studies to help pool the findings and identify relationships based on those articles. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the general idea.
I'll hopefully be doing a meta-analysis related to youth with chronic medical conditions and examining something related to quality of life, though I still need to narrow down the topic as I search through the literature in more depth. This topic has gotten me excited because it can allow me to return to my original work, to some extent, that I'm passionate about, which is trying to understand characteristics of medical conditions (e.g., pain, visibility) more thoroughly and in a way that can apply to any condition(s). It's a big undertaking overall, but this can get me inching closer to that larger goal! As my topic develops, I'll try to keep you all updated in these posts.
In other research news, I will officially continue to work with Dr. Carter and Dr. Grant through the summer on the physiological data that I had been working on. This is the same data that I will be presenting a poster on at the ABCT conference in the fall, and I'm excited by some of the findings we've gotten so far. I don't want to give away too much, but it will be exciting to continue working with that team through the summer!
Alright, I think that's a long enough update for now. I hope you all had a great fourth of July (for those who celebrate it...and really, for those who don't too, because you deserve to have a good day as well).
Feel free to keep in touch in the comments. Otherwise, until next week!