We sat down with pediatric psychology fellow Maggie Stoeckel, Ph.D., to learn more about her role at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and how she and her team work together to help patients and families.
What do you do at OHSU Doernbecher?
I’m completely embedded in the GI service and am available for all patients who have any kind of psychosocial needs. My primary role is working with kids that have chronic illnesses – the patients I see the most have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic abdominal pain, liver disease or encopresis.
As kids are growing up, it’s hard to manage chronic illnesses on top of normal developmental challenges. As a result, our patients can be vulnerable to depression and anxiety and might experience difficulty taking medication or difficult family dynamics. My job is to see the patient and family as a whole and address all of their needs.
What’s unique about this role?
We have a multidisciplinary team that consists of GI providers (including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, a social worker and a dietitian) and we work together on a daily basis in clinic. Our goal is to provide holistic care.
I really enjoy working in a multidisciplinary team; we’re always learning from one another and it makes it exciting to come to work every day. No two days are the same!
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Just seeing the patients every day – it’s really rewarding to see kids smiling after going through some significant challenges with their health.
What encouragement would you give to patients and families?
It’s normal to have strong emotions around chronic illness. I also want families to know I’m here as a resource in the good times and the bad times. Prevention is really important – we do so much better with preventing crises (as opposed to intervening when things get really bad). That’s one reason why it’s beneficial to have an integrated model – families meet me from the get-go and know that I’m part of the team.