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Child Clinical Interviewing and Family Involvement Essay

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Updated: Jan 7th, 2021

Clinical interviewing of children

The assessment of children presents several differences compared to that of adults. The clinical interviewing of children is associated with the fact that a nurse receives information from parents, educators, caregivers, and a child. The integration of the mentioned sources allows nurses to understand the child’s condition in an in-depth manner based on social, cultural, religious, and health data. Perese (2012) states that the approach targeting the child’s self-reporting is a beneficial way to collect the most relevant data.

In particular, by posing proper questions to children and their families, nurses may contribute to relationship creation, mutual trust, and openness in the assessment process (O’Reilly, Karim, & Kiyimba, 2015). In this connection, it is worth paying one’s attention to the concept of communication as the information-gathering process. As a fundamental aspect of health care services, the pediatric interviewing should be sensitive and flexible.

While assessing a child, it is important to pay attention to the cultural aspect that may include ethnicity, background, religion, and so on. According to the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses (2010), children are especially sensitive to nurses’ attitudes, and sincere interest and engagement of caregivers are critical. It should also be emphasized that case formulation should be developed in close association with a patient’s culture that is expressed in beliefs, perceptions, and expectations (International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, 2010).

The most important issue I have learned from this practice is the fact that children should be regarded as active participants of interviewing since they may provide more detailed information. By posing appropriate questions, child evaluation becomes more comprehensive and targeted, which affects the selection of further diagnostics and treatment options.

The mother’s role in the process of child assessment

The mother’s health during pregnancy plays the significant role, and it may help in understanding the child’s condition. For example, if a mother had some respiratory problems, the child may also have similar diseases. In addition, by determining whether the child meets the developmental milestones or not is important as it will clearly represent any health issues existing in one or another patient (King, 1997). It is expected that, as a rule, preschool children should cooperate with others, be inventive, or strive to acquire new experience. However, the mentioned activities may be more or less evident, depending on a specific culture.

Elaborating on the connection between culture and child assessment, it is possible to note that American children tend to be more initiative in making friends or expressing their emotions compared to their Chinese contemporaries. The identified characteristics may be explained by the difference in these cultures since they are individualistic and collective, respectively. It goes without saying that this aspect should be taken into account in the course of children interviewing.

In order to avoid misinterpretation or any conflicts, a nurse should ask proper questions while remaining sensitive to the emotionality of patients’ responses, as stated by Zeanah, Stevens, and Larrieu (2014). Nevertheless, behaviors of both children and their caregivers should be contrasted in combination to create a full picture and provide the best treatment possible. In other words, culture in terms of health assessment should be regarded as a multifaceted concept that may involve various areas related to the patient’s background.

Differences between child assessment and adult interviewing

Discussing issues that distinguish child assessment from adult interviewing, one may note that self-reporting is an essential element of the evaluation due to its ability to receive primary data from the patient, which is based on his or her emotions and feelings. More to the point, when revealing information that is useful for diagnosing, the child’s perceptions may point to symptoms and potential complications (Perese, 2012). The consideration of the latter will help a nurse to adequately select the intervention and adjust it to a particular patient. The preparation of the individualized instructions to treatment seems to be a result of the mentioned approach.

Even though self-reporting is important, a caregiver’s observations should also be taken into account. McFarland and Wehbe-Alamah (2014) emphasize that a family composes the key social context of children. In their turn, Moreau, Pound, and Eady (2015) explore the role of the family-centered approach to pediatric care and claim that caregivers may be a valuable source of information.

Since they may consider the child’s behavior in dynamics, it creates the opportunity to monitor the treatment progress and report about any changes. In addition, caregivers may provide some details regarding cultural peculiarities of the family that will critically impact the child assessment. According to the findings of Moreau et al. (2015), the collaboration with parents brings such benefits as the identification of the child’s weak and strong points related to health, continuous monitoring, and set common goals. As a result, the family-centered approach will ensure family engagement and goof health outcomes.


International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses. (2010). . Web.

King, R. A. (1997). Practice parameters for the psychiatric assessment of children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(10), 4-20.

McFarland, M. R., & Wehbe-Alamah, H. B. (2014). Leininger’s culture care diversity and universality (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Moreau, K. A., Pound, C. M., & Eady, K. (2015). Pediatric caregiver involvement in the assessment of physicians. BMC Medical Education, 15(1), 123-128.

O’Reilly, M., Karim, K., & Kiyimba, N. (2015). Question use in child mental health assessments and the challenges of listening to families. BJPsych Open, 1(2), 116-120.

Perese, E. F. (2012). Psychiatric advanced practice nursing: A biopsychosocial foundation for practice. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Zeanah, C. H., Stevens, M., & Larrieu, J. A. (2014). The working model of the child interview. In S. Farnfield & P. Holmes (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of attachment: Assessment (pp. 147-157). New York, NY: Routledge.

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