Externalizing Disorders

Externalizing Disorders. Reflect on your first experience treating a toddler, school-aged child, or adolescent with a mood or anxiety disorder.

Describe a clinical situation, in detail. (Who was it, when did it happen, what happened, what caused it to happen, where did it happen, how did it happen). Describing the clinical experience should take less than 3 minutes. Discussing your reflection should take 3-5 minutes.
How did you manage these anxieties, feelings, prejudices, and biases?
What assumptions did you make about children or families with mental illness?
What awareness did you develop during your clinical experience?
Describe how you changed as a result of your clinical experience?
Describe how will this clinical situation impact your advanced nursing practice?


Clinical Situation:
During my first experience treating a school-aged child with an anxiety disorder, I encountered a 9-year-old boy named Alex. It happened about two years ago in a child mental health clinic where I was interning. Alex’s parents sought help because he had been experiencing excessive worry, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating, which were interfering with his school performance and social interactions. Upon further assessment, it became evident that Alex’s anxiety had developed due to a recent change in his school environment and bullying incidents he had endured.

Initially, I experienced a mix of emotions, including empathy, concern, and a degree of uncertainty. Managing my anxieties, feelings, prejudices, and biases required me to acknowledge and reflect on them consciously. I reminded myself that every individual and family is unique, and it was important not to make assumptions or judgments based on stereotypes.

During my clinical experience, I realized that my assumptions about children or families with mental illness were unfounded. I had subconsciously held beliefs that mental health challenges were primarily a result of personal weaknesses or parenting failures. However, through interactions with Alex’s family, I discovered the complexities and multifactorial nature of mental health issues. It became evident that environmental factors, genetic predispositions, and societal influences all played a significant role in the development of mental disorders.

This clinical experience increased my awareness of the importance of a holistic approach to care. I recognized the significance of involving not only the child but also their family in the treatment process. I learned to appreciate the impact of the social and educational environments on a child’s mental health and the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.

As a result of this experience, I underwent a transformation in my perspective and practice. I became more compassionate, understanding, and patient-centered in my approach. I actively worked to challenge my preconceived notions and biases, focusing instead on providing evidence-based care tailored to the unique needs of each child and their family.

This clinical situation has had a profound impact on my advanced nursing practice. It has reinforced the value of therapeutic communication, active listening, and collaborative decision-making. It has motivated me to continually educate myself about the latest research and evidence-based interventions in pediatric mental health. Additionally, it has highlighted the importance of destigmatizing mental health issues and advocating for early intervention and prevention strategies in schools and communities.

In conclusion, my clinical experience treating a school-aged child with an anxiety disorder broadened my perspective, challenged my assumptions, and deepened my commitment to providing comprehensive and compassionate care to individuals and families facing mental health challenges.

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