Skip to comments.Natick nurse honored for 'Apology' program (more Massachusetts kissy-face treacle)
Posted on 05/29/2007 10:18:38 AM PDT by pabianice
NATICK, MA - Bev Presson believes there is power in apologies.
Adults, after all, have been telling children for years they need to apologize to other people when they make mistakes. Shouldn't adults learn from their own message and apologize to children when their mistakes cause distress to children?
"In framing an apology, we're inviting the child to work with us," said Presson, unit coordinator of the Child Development Unit at MetroWest Medical Center's Leonard Morse campus. "You always want to create a win-win situation. You want to find a way for the kids to win, especially when they're in such a helpless situation."
"Apology" has become a staff standard at the Child Development Unit, a 12-bed ward for children aged 3-17 who are in need of psychiatric hospitalization. The resultant success of patients' hospitalizations has inspired other facilities to adopt the method.
Presson was honored by the state Department of Mental Health last week with the Distinguished Service Award, presented annually to those who have made a significant impact on the lives of people with mental illness. Commissioner Elizabeth Childs praised Presson's implementation of "apology" into post seclusion/restraint processes.
Presson, an Ohio native who has been with the hospital for nearly 20 years, said she accepted the award on behalf of the staff, without whom the unit would be unable to function.
"It's a special place, and I think the state recognizes this," Presson said of the unit. "The entire staff works to make it a nurturing environment."
The unit serves children with a wide variety of diagnoses and problems. The focus of the hospitalization is to work with the child on adaptive coping skills.
"We teach social skills and coping strategies," said Mary Mullany, director of behavioral medicine at Leonard Morse. "We have a core mission to provide the least restrictive care to all of our patients."
"Restraint" is a term with a negative aura and, in fact, the state has worked to limit the method's use. Presson's "apology" method began six years ago as an offshoot of restraint, which is used only when a child has become violent and dangerous to himself or others.
"When restraint happens, it's a failure. It's a treatment failure," Presson said. "We have to understand why it happened.
"I made the decision that we should apologize to the children who were violated after each restraint. I just felt it was the right thing to do," she added. "I felt we should extend an apology and try to reconcile with the child. The children - they look at you. It's a very powerful, sacred moment when you apologize, as a caregiver, to someone who is really struggling. You almost lift their burden."
Apology was soon introduced to other aspects of treatment and the need for restraint has dwindled as a result, Mullany and Presson believe.
"The majority of children that we've extended apology to have had very successful hospitalizations," Presson said.
Treatment on the Child Development Unit is geared toward children, using play, music and art therapy. Children also work with sensory materials to learn ways to cope with stressful situations.
"We can't expect kids to sit down in a group and tell you, 'I'm angry because of A, B, and C.' Kids don't work that way," Presson said.
Part of treatment is helping the children to recognize their own early warning signs and teach them when and how to remove themselves.
"Children with problems will fall off the developmental track," Presson said. "We want to teach them to become more resilient. At the same time, you're trying to understand the child, not force them to conform. In the past, we were rule enforcers. Now we're child understanders. We want to know why they behave in this way, what their triggers are, how they can learn to cope."
"We also treat the families," Presson said. "We don't look at the kids separate from the family. How can we make this family function at the highest level?"
(Jennifer Lord may be reached at 508-626-3880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I’m betting that someday she’ll be sorry...
>>”I made the decision that we should apologize to the children who were violated after each restraint. I just felt it was the right thing to do,” she added. “I felt we should extend an apology and try to reconcile with the child. The children - they look at you. It’s a very powerful, sacred moment when you apologize, as a caregiver, to someone who is really struggling. You almost lift their burden.”<<
“Violated”? It’s your damn job, Nurse Rachett.
>> Bev Presson believes there is power in apologies.
OK! I’ll step up to the plate.
“Bev, I am truly sorry that you’re a guilt-ridden liberal airhead”.
Wow. That had a powerful cathartic effect! I feel better already.
Yes! I saw that and was appalled. Then I read Tierjas Slim’s suggestion that the two little a@@clowns clean bedpans at the VA until they turn 21 yrs., so I called the Rockland PD and let them know. The cop was laughig as I rang off...it’s a very good suggestion and would change those boys for the better, I think.
Ooooooooooooooh! Cleaning bedpans! How appropriate! I love it! Tierjas Slim has the right idea and I like it that you called Rockland PD, lol!
someone should apologize for posting this.
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