residency > The Campus > St. Louis Children's Hospital

Rotation Director: T. Eric Spiegel, MD

Other Faculty: Natchanan Charatcharungkiat, MD; Michael Wenzinger, MD; Jaime Hook, MD; Tola Kusnetsov, MD

Number of Fellows per Rotation: One

Length of Rotation: 2 blocks of 5.1 weeks

Time of Rotation: First year

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The goal of this rotation is to provide first-year fellows with in-depth exposure to the interface between pediatric and psychiatric care in an academic hospital setting where both common pediatric illnesses and complex pediatric specialty care co-exist. The nature of the child psychiatry consult liaison at SLCH is team-based including the rotating attending faculty, C/L director, the fellow, and trainees supervised by the fellow (medical students and Pediatric Neurology residents on child psychiatry).  Although teaching (rounds, recommended readings, participation in C/L-specific multi-disciplinary care meetings, case-based) is prominent in this rotation, it is also expected that this rotation will allow first-year fellows to showcase their advancing skills.


To develop competence in the following areas:

Patient Care

The fellow will learn the provision of consult-liaison services at SLCH including:

  • Clarification of consult questions and of goals and objectives of consult as a dynamic process that starts at the outset and continues throughout the consultative process
  • Approaching hospital patients and families who may or may not be enthusiastic about psychiatric consultation
  • Assessing the impact of chronic disease on children, adolescents, and their families
  • Refinement of child and family therapeutic interviewing skills in a busy hospital setting
  • Observing and interpreting family, ward, health care, and other relationships and their pertinence to the presenting consult question
  • Producing recommendations that are clear and practical for the healthcare team, patient, and family to be implemented in the hospital and beyond
  • Assessment of risk and appropriateness of outpatient (vs. more intensive) treatment post-SLCH stay
  • Prevention of self-harm and harm to others
  • Assessment of psychiatric follow-up needs and facilitation of follow-up care arrangement
  • Familiarity and competence with psychopharmacological interventions in children with multiple medical problems and often on multiple medications, including attention to drug-drug interactions and drug contraindications
  • Psychoeducation of patients, families, and healthcare team members
  • Supportive therapy and grief/loss counseling
  • Hospital behavioral management
Medical Knowledge

The fellow will gain medical knowledge through working in a clinical team, accompanying didactics, and reading the pertinent consult CAP or related literature. Knowledge developed on this rotation will include:

  • Presentations of major child psychiatric disorders in acute pediatric settings including knowledge of epidemiology, known etiological or risk factors, disorder phenomenology, diagnostic criteria, the predictive value of diagnosis (adjustment disorders, depressive and anxiety disorders, abnormal illness behaviors, psychological factors complicating medical conditions, psychiatric disorders secondary to medical factors, delirium, and cognitive and behavioral impairments related to medical factors)
  • Understanding the appropriate use of laboratory testing and adjunctive data collection in the elucidation of clinical presentation in the hospital setting
  • Understanding the appropriate elicitation of information from pediatric colleagues to appreciate fully the medical phenomenology of illness
  • Basic knowledge of pediatric disorders which commonly affect patients that the fellow is consulting (overdoses and sequelae, diabetes, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, dystrophies, and epilepsy)
  • Critical knowledge of effective treatment strategies including psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches and strengths and limitations of approaches (combined or not combined with one another)
  • Knowledge of consultation role and its boundaries
  • Use of electronic systems to access hospital care, medical, and scientific information
Practice-Based Learning

The fellow will effectively communicate with the members of the pediatric care team including key members of the team responsible for consult initiation, patients, their families, and all other members of the treatment team

  • Conducting age-appropriate interview techniques, as well as comprehensive mental status examinations on children and adolescents in hospital settings that may include the use of less anxiety-provoking observational settings such as the playroom and the SLCH garden
  • Effective communication with all involved in the care of the patient including verbal, non-verbal, and written communication and oral communication of written recommendations to key individuals
  • Ability to efficiently summarize findings and recommendations in a timely manner, respectful of the rapid pace of hospital care
  • Leadership and teaching of medical students and neurology residents assigned to consult team (allowing these trainees to progress during their one-month rotation to an evaluative role under the supervision of fellow)
  • Develop and maintain therapeutic alliances with the health care team, and patient’s families, and troubleshoot difficulties encountered in the maintenance of therapeutic alliances (splitting, blaming, triangulations, and poorly understood perspective differences)
  • Empathy and understanding of the role and burdens of different members of the health care team as applicable (pediatricians, nurses, pediatricians in training, ward staff, social workers, child abuse team members, and psychology staff)
  • Collaborative relationships in particular with psychology

The fellow will develop competence in continuous learning and improvement through practice and related activities including:

  • Active participation in didactics and conferences which are particularly salient to practice in the hospital setting (psychotherapy seminars, early bird rounds, pediatric grand rounds, and interdisciplinary conferences)
  • Active case-based learning in the hospital
  • A critical review of patient records
  • Integration of literature findings into patient care and/or communication with others
  • Ability to research and troubleshoot complexities and difficulties that arise in consultation
Interpersonal/Communication Skills

The fellow will demonstrate sensitivity and compassion to children, adolescents, and to their families/caretakers affected by psychopathology and will continue to develop relationships with other professionals or professionals in training, including supervisors, colleagues, students, and allied professionals. In the C/L rotation, major aspects of professional development will include:

  • Perform a consultation that respectfully addresses the specific questions paused by the referring physician
  • Developing intra-professionally by managing their own emotional reactions to other medical providers and health care team members, youth, and families seen in the hospital
  • Responsibility for consultation role as demonstrated by timely response or communication with families, attending(s), and other health professionals and passing on of salient information to other fellows (before the weekend call)
  • Acknowledgment and remediation of errors
  • Intra-professionalism; ability to understand and remedy factors that interfere with one’s proper professional conduct
System-Based Care

A quintessential rotation to gain competence in system-based care by providing consults requested by multiple systems and participating in interdisciplinary meetings where multiple systems of care intersect:

  • Understanding the roles of other professionals including pediatricians, sub-specialists, psychologists, nursing staff, social workers, occupational therapists, and child abuse team
  • Development of time management skills including management of other clinical responsibilities during the C/L rotation
  • Familiarity with consult billing procedures
  • Appreciation of the perception of psychiatric systems of care by others
  • Understanding the limitation of community mental health care for children and its impact on mental health care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Measurement of Objectives

  • Feedback from other professionals
  • Standard program evaluations
  • Medical records review by faculty
  • Clinical skills examinations

Description of Rotation

This hospital-based rotation involves managing all consults from the hospital staff (inpatient) including consulting clarification, timely initiation of consult (within 24 hours of request), timely recommendations, communication with primary C/L attending and consulting director, management of hospital staff’s expectations regarding consults, facilitation of transfers to psychiatric hospitals, weekly attendance at the Behavioral Response Team meeting, and leadership of other trainees on child psychiatry rotation.  Rounds with primary attending occur daily.