A working day in the life of a Consultant Paediatrician in an eating disorder service.

Dr Jay Venketramen is a locum Consultant Paediatrician and works in CAREDS Cork Kerry. Jay trained and worked in South Africa before moving to Ireland. With a strong interest in community services, Jay spent some time working as a psychiatry registrar in CAMHS before returning to paediatrics, and she took up a post in CAREDS in February 2023. She works part time in CAREDS and also has sessions in the regional inpatient adolescent unit and in the CAMHS MHID team in Cork

CAREDS (Child and Adolescent Regional Eating Disorder Service) Cork Kerry was the NCPED’s first integrated community eating disorder team in that it has both a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and a Consultant Paediatrician on the MDT. The aim is to improve the physical monitoring of young people in the community, reduce referrals and duration of stay in acute hospitals, and support community mental health treatment when it is medically safe to do so.  Jay provides a key link between the mental health and paediatric teams in the region.

My Working life

06:30: The day starts with the comforting aroma of coffee and a moment of reflection, on the upcoming day.

09:15 The CAREDS morning huddle teleconference gives our MDT an opportunity to make a comprehensive overview of the plan for the day and for us to brief each other on any risks ahead or issues that have arisen.

09:30 As I commence clinical reviews at CAREDS, conducting assessments, and developing treatment plans, I pay careful consideration when planning a medical approach and consult with key clinicians, so that we are offering consistent advice and managing risk together. Medical assessments evaluating risk biochemically, clinically and from a cardiovascular perspective underscore the critical role of medical interventions in conjunction with psychiatric support for eating disorder recovery. Despite everyone having an eating disorder, I find that each individual patient is unique and requires a bespoke management plan

On Wednesdays, I am in Eist Linn where I provide paediatric support to the inpatient team there. This includes those with eating disorders and since I started, we have been able to institute some nasogastric (NG) feeding in Eist Linn, which has been really useful to support medical stability during nutritional rehabilitation there, reducing the need for hospital transfer.

12:30: Our weekly Interdisciplinary liaison tele-meeting between CAREDS, liaison and hospital paediatrics offers us all the opportunity to plan a comprehensive follow up treatment plan to facilitate a smooth transition for patients who are awaiting discharge from the medical inpatient wards, and also to discuss how patients who were recently discharged are doing.

13:30 During lunchtime, our team usually gathers to enjoy a meal in the kitchen. We try to embody the principles we advocate for our patients in our own practice, making time to have lunch together and to connect with each other, which helps the work flow. We do our best to keep it free from clinical talk!

14:00 The CAREDS  Interdisciplinary team meeting takes place on Tuesdays, where all referrals, and complex cases are discussed. This can take 2-3 hours as some of the cases are very complex, and we may need to reformulate a case and update their care plan. I give an update on the medical aspects to the clinicians providing therapy and sometimes may need to slip away to review someone. I find that collaborating within a multidisciplinary team (MDT) facilitates the integration of medical and psychiatric knowledge, fostering a comprehensive approach to patient care.

17:00 After completing plans and clinical notes, I conduct a thorough review of the agenda for the following day. Once this is finished, I eagerly head home, cherishing the opportunity to devote quality time to my beloved family.

Through the highs and lows of each day, I am reminded of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a paediatrician in the field of eating disorder care. It’s a journey marked by compassion, collaboration, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference in the lives of those we serve.