psychologists provide specialty services as needed.
For example, a psychologist often sees patients with a
primary-care provider to help develop a patient’s care plan
or to assess any behavioral concerns. In addition, Nemours
psychologists train physicians in motivational interviewing, a
method that can help pediatricians take a more focused, goal-directed and patient-centered approach in their conversations
with patients to help motivate them to change unhealthy
Psychologists also educate their pediatrician colleagues —
often in one-on-one, lunchtime conversations about a patient
— about some of the most effective behavioral interventions
parents can use with their kids, and how to help patients stay
on track with medication management, says Jennifer Schroff
Pendley, PhD, chief psychologist and co-director of the division
of behavioral health at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for
“Rather than leading more formal seminars, our
psychologists are more focused on shadowing and on-the-
spot training opportunities with their colleagues,” Pendley
says. “It’s much more effective at that level because it’s not just
Psychologists are also instrumental in Nemours’s new
policy to screen every child to make sure he or she meets key
“So much of primary care is about prevention, and this
is an opportunity for us to catch kids who are at risk for
developmental or behavioral issues early and get them over
to see psychology or other resources,” says Nemours pediatric
psychologist Meghan Lines, PhD.
Now nearly 90 percent of all Nemours children are screened,
thanks to psychologists’ work to standardize such assessments.
Just a few years ago, only a handful of providers used the
screenings, Lines says.
Nemours is also working to help psychology trainees prepare
for the health-care changes ahead. In September, for example,
the organization welcomed two psychology interns into its new
Integrated Behavioral Health Track, which will train them in
interventions, assessments and consultation.
The training fills a critical need in the field, experts say.
“Right now, the demand is so strong and we don’t have
enough psychologists trained in this area,” says health-care
expert Kristi Van Sickle, PsyD, assistant professor of psychology
at Florida Institute of Technology. “We need to recognize that
the future of psychology is going to include psychologists in
these settings and to make room for that training.” n
Amy Novotney is a journalist in Chicago.
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