Charisse Radnothy


Charisse Radnothy Traineeship Year:


My traineeship at Tucson Arizona’s Pediatric Pulmonary Center (PPC) has been an invaluable experience from which I can draw upon in my future social work practice. I began this internship with little knowledge about chronic pulmonary diseases and their effects on an individual’s overall well being. In my internship at the PPC, I have encountered many opportunities for increased learning, leadership, and personal growth. This internship has raised my awareness on the various populations and programs the MCH serves. In my interactions with patients and families, I observed how CF affects individuals, not only physically, but also socially, emotionally, psychologically, and financially. For example, I learned that because of infection prevention and control guidelines, CF patients are not able to be close to other patients with CF. I identified that this would be difficult for patients because it prevents their ability to use other patients as a support. With most diseases there are support groups available where patients can connect with individuals who share similar experiences. Patients diagnosed with CF are unable to receive this form of support due to infection control and prevention guidelines. I have observed that being diagnosed with a chronic illness can create feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can contribute to depression and anxiety symptoms.

In my internship, I have observed anxiety and depression as one of the most common disorders in patients/caregivers with CF. I saw how a mental health disorder of anxiety and depression could affect a person’s ability to perform daily disease-related care and impact their health-related quality of life. Observing this was impactful and as a social work trainee I felt it was important to assess the mental health needs of this population and make strides to address these needs. In this process, I learned a great deal about community involvement, communication and developing techniques to teach others about the mental health needs of patients diagnosed with CF and their families. I have seen the importance of advocating on patients’ behalf as well as teaching them the importance of advocating for their healthcare needs.

I feel deeply honored to have had the pleasure of working with patients and families receiving care from the PPC. I have a new profound understanding of what it means to be diagnosed with a chronic illness and the psychosocial challenges people can endure. I have deepened my knowledge of the interpersonal strengths that patients diagnosed with CF and their families possess and how important it is to incorporate their strengths into treatment. Without the support and education from the PPC faculty, CF team members and patients and families, I would not have been able to learn, achieve personal growth and acquire leadership skills in this internship. I am grateful for the guidance and support I received from my MCH internship and supervisor that pushed me to learn more and engage in situations beyond my comfort level. My internship at the PPC has taught me a great deal about who I am as social work leader and my strengths in working in the MCH field. I will use these skills to help the patients and families I will work with in the future.