Activity 18:Observe interactions between a child, parent, and provider, making sure to observe and consider the three different relationships: child-provider, parent-provider, and child-parent



Activity: Observe interactions between a child, parent, and provider, making sure to observe and consider the three different relationships: child-provider, parent-provider, and child-parent.

Students will be able to analyze distinct aspects of communication between all participants (tone of voice, body language, eye contact, etc).
Students will be able to identify power dynamics between all participants of interaction.
Students will be able to determine how children contribute to their healthcare decisions.
Any shadowing site with pediatric or adolescent patients.
Recommended Preparatory Activities:
Ford, A. (2017). Do children have the right to contribute to medical decisions about their own care? An analysis of policy and practice in the UK and the US. Health and Human Rights Journal. Retrieved from
Levetown, M. (2008). Communicating with children and families: From everyday interactions to skill in conveying distressing information. American Academy of Pediatrics, 121 (5). Retrieved form
Pre-activity questions to consider:
Think about your experiences with physicians as a child. How much did you speak and how much did your parents speak for you?
When did you stop going to a pediatrician? Did you feel ready for that transition? What age do you think is appropriate for that?
Did you feel intimidated by physicians that weren’t your pediatrician? How did your interactions change when you saw specialists or doctors you weren’t used to?
At what age did you become comfortable going to an appointment by yourself? What hesitations did you have up until that point?
Time Commitment:
This activity should take a total of about 2 hours: 30 minutes for prepatory activities; at least an hour for shadowing; about 30 minutes of reflection
Appropriate For:
Advanced undergraduate students; undergraduate healthcare students; graduate students in the health professions.
Activity Description:
You will be observing the interaction between a healthcare provider, a pediatric patient, and their caregiver. This activity will include two components: observations/notes and reflection.
Begin by thinking about the view of healthcare you had as a child as outlined in the preparatory questions. How do you think physicians should best approach the communication issues that come with treating children?
1) While shadowing pay attention to and take notes on the following:
Eye contact: Does the physician keep more eye contact with the child or parent? Who does the child look at more often: the physician or the parent?
Involvement: Does the child speak? Does the physician encourage them to do so or do they focus on the parent’s oration?
Mood: Does the child look comfortable? Are they quiet or reserved?
Body Language: Does the physician face the parent or the child? Does the physician have open or closed body language? What about the child?
Tone: What kind of tone does the physician use? Is it happy, serious, uninterested? Does the physician’s tone change between talking to the child and to the parent? What kind of tone does the child use? Do they seem hesitant, scared, comfortable?
Demographics: How old is the patient? Are they particularly young or particularly old compared to the rest of the physician’s patient population?

2) Analyze your observations from the interaction, going back to think about your answers to the pre-activity questions. Reflect on your experience to write a reflective essay about the shadowing experiences.
Authors: Kelsey Campbell, Katie Koester, Honour McDaniel, Anna Wilwerding