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Child and Adolescent Services is more of a training program than an educational one offered to registered nurses who are interested in pursuing deeper knowledge in child and adolescent mental health care.
Also known as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, this field did not exist until 1883. During this time, Kraepelin published a psychiatric taxonomy which completely ignored the disorders in children. It was not until the time of Johannes Truper, Theodor Ziehen, and Wilhelm Strohmayer—psychiatrists considered the founding fathers of child psychiatry in Germany—did this field gain a foothold in the mental health industry. Johannes Truper co-founded the Die Kinderfehler (1896) which was one of the leading journals on research in pedagogy and child psychiatry during its time. Theodor Ziehen, on the other hand, gained practical experience on child psychiatry as a consultant liaison at the approved school run by Johannes Truper himself; while Wilhelm Strohmayer, was part of the professors of psychiatry at Jena who became familiar with the cathartic method. However, the most significant advancement of this field only happened in the time of the Swiss psychiatrist Moritz Tramer who was the first to identify the parameters of child psychotherapy in terms of analysis, treatment, and prognosis. Another significant advancement happened in 1930 with the foundation of the fist academic child psychiatry department in the world at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, thanks to Leo Kanner. The term “child psychology” was not even used until the publication of Kanner’s textbook Child Psychiatry which helped the field make its way into the medical as well as the academic world.
Most universities and institutions offer this as a one-year, full time program and is taught in a combination of face-to-face or classroom learning and on-line learning. The aim of this program is to develop and improve the clinical practices in the field of child and adolescent mental health; for the students to develop competency, gain knowledge, and develop into a professional compassionate enough to improve the mental stability of their patients who are mostly children and adolescent whose self-confidence and self-esteem are destroyed by mental distress. Some of the courses students might take include child and adolescent development, wellness and ill-healthy in children and adolescents, assessment and therapeutic interventions, and professional issues in nursing practice. Students will learn to examine the relevance of their lessons and how they can apply these to their practice. Students will also undergo numerous practicum and hands-on sessions to demonstrate their competency and to finish this program.
There is a constant need for child and adolescent psychiatrist all over the world, especially in the rural and poor urban areas where access is reduced almost to nothing. This is why graduates of this program will find that career opportunities are abundant especially in the areas mentioned above. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists help the young by giving psychiatric evaluation for behavioral problems and by prescribing and monitoring medications for psychiatric disorders. Their main goal, however, is to help children and adolescents develop coping skills and build their self-esteem.