The Child Life Specialist provides emotional and social support to patients and their families by conducting educational and recreational programs that minimize the psychological trauma for hospitalized infants, children, and adolescents. Plans and provides age and developmentally appropriate experience to ensure continued cognitive and emotional growth. Adds to quality of patient care through observation, documentation, and communication with other members of the healthcare team. Serves as a resource on child development issues.
- Assesses the patient’s fears and anxieties regarding hospitalization, using formal and informal assessment techniques that foster appropriate coping mechanisms to allow for a healthy, constructive adaptation to stressful experiences.
- Creates a therapeutic plan for patients that incorporates developmentally appropriate intervention and play activities for the bedside and in the playroom.
- Conducts medical play with patients to facilitate the patient’s and family’s understanding of medical procedures to help the patient gain a sense of mastery and help lessen anxiety.
- Initiates and maintains supportive professional relationships with patients and their families that assist the families in understanding the developmental and emotional needs of their hospitalized child.
- Participates in multidisciplinary care conferences.
- Interviews, trains and supervises volunteers to interact with patients and provide diversional activities, both in the playroom and by the bedside.
- Provides in-services to nursing staff, students, public schools, colleges, and other community agencies concerning principles of child development and emotional aspects of the hospitalized child.
- Educates Medical Imaging, Laboratory, Respiratory Care, and other ancillary departments on ways to interact with patients and their families.
- Documents patient observations and makes recommendations for play intervention. Maintains daily statistical data specific to unit.
- Collaborates in screening donations and groups of people wishing to organize special events and/or holiday events for pediatric population.
- Promotes visibility of pediatric services (e.g., health fairs, Children and Hospitals Week).
- Supervises, trains, and evaluates child life interns.
- Works with other child life specialists and provides coverage when necessary.
- Provides emotional support for siblings on an individual or group basis.
- Selects appropriate toys for purchase and makes recommendations to other departments.
- Bachelor's Degree in Child development, child life or related field
- National Certified Child Life Specialist - Association of Child Life Professionals
- 2 years of Clinical experience
- Previous work experience with healthy infants, children, and adolescents, as well as working knowledge of children and/or adolescents under stress