Friday, May 25, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex and Sick Kids

Most inappropriate blog post title ever, do you think? Hear me out!

This week, straight into things since arriving in Toronto, I have started my MSW Placement. For these next 14 weeks I am working at the Hospital for Sick Children, the main paediatric hospital in Ontario and indeed a very well renowned hospital in Canada, North America and internationally.

The hospital is still a massive labyrinthine to me, on day three, but has this amazing atrium filled with light as a central point. The architects included this feature of the newer end of the building based on the notion that natural light promotes healing. It's an amazing place just to walk around and feel the energy among the staff, oozing with the sense that great things are being done here, everyday.

There is a big group of MSW students on placement here at Sick Kids, as the hospital is referred to, from the University of Toronto and a couple of other universities around the region, and we all get to work together on some areas of learning but are also allocated an area of work based on our supervising Social Worker.

My supervisor specialises in Urology and Disorders of Sex Development. With her guidance and supervision I will be working with families, and young people, as they work through issues of genital function and aesthetics, identity and self concept, shame and humiliation, social acceptance and stigma. Working through different stages in their lives, and the issues that come up as a result of these chronic lifelong issues, in addition to the general social work work of family therapy, counselling, advocacy and support.

A completely new world to me, a totally new clinical population and focus, and definitely a completely new language! I mean, one of the first things that has shocked and stood out for me on the first day is that 1 in 150 baby boys are born with hypospadias....and I had never heard of it.

Exstrophy, and it's different types and implications. Penile reconstruction. The construction of vaginas, or the presence of multiple vaginas. Genetically male children with ambiguous genitalia being raised as, and identifying as, girls.

Whoa, this post sure is going to draw some strange and creepy searches from Google - hello freaks! Move along, this is not what you were looking for!! But also to people dealing with these terms as new diagnosis - sorry, I am just learning it all too!

This is such an amazing learning opportunity, in a clinical hospital setting, and also within a challenging a new area. I have met a couple of families with whom I will be working with, and thus I am frantically trying to get up to speed on all the terms and also the Canadian systems and resources, ready to get into it all.


  1. Exciting!

    What's Epispadias? ;)

    [Don't answer. Meggsie]

  2. gawd you get around woman


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