TREATMENT AND CARE
CeDAR is part of the University of Colorado Hospital, which means it also serves as a teaching hospital. What makes healthcare at a teaching hospital unique and how may that affect someone’s treatment with us? This article helps describe some of the teaching avenues present at CeDAR and what to expect if you or a family member were receiving treatment here.
Some of the dedicated teaching that occurs at CeDAR is through the medical track, including medical students, young physicians, and advanced physician trainees. Our medical student education typically involves 4-week rotations by students who are in their 3rd year of clinical training. These students are completing their rotation in psychiatry, even though it may seem that the core learning is in the area of addiction recovery.
We sometimes have 4th-year medical students conducting a rotation at CeDAR as well. These trainees are likely entering the field of psychiatry after they graduate from medical school. The 3rd year students may be entering any medical specialty, but are eager to learn about addiction treatment, as this condition shows up across all health-related careers.
What are the roles of these medical students? They have a commitment to both learning and delivering care. This includes meeting individually with their patients, making adjustments in a patient’s treatment plan, and providing supportive therapy. These students will often meet in a combined way along with their attending physician. This mentor/mentee approach has been used to teach medical students for the past 200 years and helps people learn by example.
There are times in which a medical student may not know the answer to someone’s question, hence they will often reach out for guidance from their attending physician. It is important for patients to know that these medical students already have quite advanced training experience and are able to deliver good services even if they are in a stage of continued learning.
Sometimes a patient might request to not work with a student physician. We are happy to listen to and seek to understand such requests, but ultimately this is at the discretion of the medical team. In receiving care through a teaching hospital such as the University of Colorado, it is understood that the teaching mission overall enriches the clinical care of each patient. At CeDAR, we follow the same policies for all clinicians and ask that patients seek to work collaboratively with the team on which they are assigned. Individuals who are constantly requesting changes and adjustments for a multitude of reasons are likely struggling with issues around control and trust.
Some CeDAR medical teams have an ongoing resident physician providing care for a two-month period of time. These individuals are already licensed physicians in their second year of psychiatry training. They are able to recommend medication approaches and deliver therapy. Our goal with these trainees is to enhance their knowledge around addiction recovery, such that they can blend these principles with quality psychiatric care.
Finally, CeDAR serves as an educational site for what is called “Fellowship” training. This provides advanced credentialing for psychiatrists and addiction medicine professionals who are interested in having focused careers in addiction treatment. Some of these fellows eventually move on to becoming faculty at the University of Colorado. Through completing a fellowship, physicians have achieved master-level expertise around the art and science of addiction treatment.
Our clinical nursing team also provides mentorship and supervised training for young nurses through the University of Colorado School of Nursing. These nurses may be interested in focused careers around psychiatry or addiction treatment or may be learning general nursing practice.
Because CeDAR delivers advanced clinical practice in supervised medical detoxification, these nursing students are witnessing and delivering advanced techniques to their patients. Such techniques include blood-draws, substance withdrawal screening, crisis intervention strategies, and clinical evaluations.
Nursing students are also involved in the charting of a medical record for their patients. Just as with the physician training program, the nursing training program requires mentor/mentee relationships and close supervision to ensure competency and accuracy.
One of the most important gains through our nursing education program is the learned compassion and patience for those struggling with substance-use disorders. Our nursing team has massive expertise, and the ability to showcase those services to young nurses helps the greater good for the medical system in the future. Nurses who gain experience at CeDAR are able to carry these skills with them into new hospitals and clinical settings, employed in Denver or across the country.
Our clinical nursing team may also be receiving ongoing education towards Master’s degrees or advanced practice nursing credentials. In this way, even our experts at CeDAR are receiving continuous education. Feel free and ask some of the nurses if they are working on unique care-delivery projects, including research initiatives. Some of the current areas of interest include naloxone distribution protocols, trauma-informed care planning, and vitamin repletion for the prevention of encephalopathy.
The educational path to becoming a psychologist is quite complex, hence CeDAR offers separate levels of training for psychologists. This includes internship and post-doctorate options. The typical length of psychology education for any individual at CeDAR is one year and includes an emphasis on advanced addiction case formulation as well as psychological testing.
As our psychology team is also involved in developing the entire CeDAR patient curriculum, trainees get experience learning about the healthcare system and development roles should they work in a career calling for those skills. They become well-versed at team management and coordination of care across a multi-disciplinary field.
The CeDAR spiritual care team also provides an educational curriculum. We have had numerous students treat patients through the spiritual program and these students are supervised in similar ways to the other educational platforms. The training for these individuals often prepares them for hospital spiritual care work.
Most of the students who participate in the CeDAR spiritual program have a Master’s of Divinity degree and are working through a residency to become board certified as a healthcare chaplain. If you receive hospital care in any way, you may have outreached the chaplain services available to you. These individuals have worked through advanced levels of training such as through our CeDAR program.
Last, but not least, CeDAR provides educational curriculums for master’s candidates in the fields of professional counseling and social work. These roles may be through either our primary counselor track or our family education and support track. Trainees function as active clinicians in patient care, providing individual and group therapy and helping to develop treatment plans for their patients.
The credentialing through our counseling education may be that of a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Addictions Counselor, Master’s in Family Therapy or Licensed Clinical Social Worker. If you or a family member work with a therapist in the community, that person likely has one or more of these credentials. CeDAR is one of the possible training paths by which these professionals develop their careers.
One of the core missions of CeDAR and the University of Colorado is to provide exceptional educational services. This standard helps us to remain competent regarding the science of healthcare. It also ensures that individuals will go forth in their careers furthering the values of CeDAR in the treatment of addiction recovery. If you or a family member are receiving care through CeDAR, take note of the educational components. You will likely work with both trainees and teachers as part of your treatment. Ask questions about these roles as learning happens all around.