Last week I attended the annual Child life Greater New York conference. This was the second one I have been to. It was a wonderful chance to meet people in the child life world. It was also great to see my fellow classmates and teachers! There were great presentations beginning with an awesome keynote speaker! I was moved as the woman spoke about her experience as a mother with children who experienced hospitalization. I was particularly moved when she described when her young daughter shared her hospital experience with her classmates. She explained the intense fear of her daughter scaring the children with details of her hospitalization. Instead she was blown away at her daughter’s ability to recall the words used when she was educated by a child life specialist about a “magic wand” that was used to help her get better. This for me highlighted the power that child life specialist’s have with word choices! It definitely eased the child’s anxiety and confidence in sharing her experience with her classmates.
At the conference I attended a great presentation about providing services according to the individual child. I already knew the importance of this but it was a great opportunity to hear, gain perspective from providing services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I also attended a presentation about alternative settings where child life fits in. It was a great opportunity to align the child life skill-set to various job descriptions. I also had the chance to identify the skill-set that would make for a strong child life private practice.
The last presentation I attended was about the power of words and utilizing it with patients and parents. There was a woman who was a mother of a patient who spoke of her experiences with different professionals and how the words made a significant difference in how she felt.We also watched some clips of different people who shared their experiences with hospitalization and how they were treated. We watched a clip of a teen who was experiencing a deteriorating neurological disorder. She wrote an incredible speech about her experience with her condition. It was one of those speeches I couldn’t help but get choked up about it. The presenter then spoke about her role with parent to parent engagements. She provides support and provides a writing project to enable the parents to cope. This is a beautiful approach that inspires me as I move forward.
It was a great day! I definitely recommend doing what you can to attend any local child life conferences, as it is beneficial for networking, gaining perspective, and adding great resources to your tool box.
So the beginning of this week was extremely intense, actually scratch that these last months were quite intense. I applied to 13 hospitals for child life internships. School required 14-15 and that is what seems to be the overall recommendation. Although there are a lot of hospitals out there, many do not offer child life internships. I went through the intensity of applying for 14 but one of the hospitals decided to pull out of doing an internship, to revamp. This happened for one of the hospitals I applied to for practicum! It was so crazy that they did that so close to the application deadline. In any case, I feel there is a reason for everything and it was for the best. So typically internship sites have only 1 spot! That alone makes it quite stressful as it is extremely competitive. Tuesday morning was sheer anxiety- no matter how you slice it, I was nervous!!!!
I am so beyond grateful to say I got into a wonderful internship!!!!!
A WORD OF ADVICE: Always call to confirm your email was received! I accepted the offer in response to the offer email, also on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday I didn’t hear anything. I waited until 3 pm to call and confirm that they received my email. When I got home I received an email stating they were so happy to get my voice mail because the email didn’t make its way to their mailbox! I was surprised that that happened since it said it was sent on my end! However, it taught me never to wholeheartedly rely on technology for these important instances!!
It feels so validating that I got an internship, as I am even more motivated to complete the last three classes I am currently enduring!!! I am graduating on time with my class 2017! Come January I will be closer to the end of grad school= closer to certification!!!!
**To anyone and everyone out there: Do Not Give Up if you are passionate about it. Even though it is hard, it is worth the fight with yourself to push through!!!!!!
Today I started by creating a banner congratulating a teenage boy who received a heart transplant! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see him as he was sleeping all day, but its exciting news! Afterwards I worked with an organization who does monthly visits dressed as a character. Last month a woman dressed up as super Mario. Today a man dressed up as a ninja turtle. I escorted the woman and ninja to patient’s rooms as we presented the children with gifts and blew bubbles for them. Its such a pleasure to see the patients enjoy this! One of the patients we visited was receiving therapy in rehab. This teenager is non communicative as he had a stroke and his body needs a lot of support. However he responded to the ninja turtle. Everyone was gathered around watching as he was smiling and flexing his muscles at the turtle. It was such an awesome thing to see. I then spent time with my 9month old patient Khaleesie. I came at the perfect time as the nurse needed assistance while bathing her. I then stayed and played with her. I was very happy to spend more time with her. Afterwards I helped host the golf activity. Every Tuesday an instructor comes and we recruit patients to join. Its pretty awesome how they adapt as needed for each patient and they children really enjoy themselves. It was a nice day. I am looking forward to seeing and doing more tomorrow.
So I have been juggling grad school and a practicum. Looking back it might have been best to do the practicum while not in school. With that being said, school is moving along! 🙂 I have one more summer class and then in the fall I have 3 more classes. In the spring I intend on doing an internship and my masters project. I have been brainstorming ideas for my masters project, which hopefully will come to a final decision soon. I am almost done!!!!
I just found out about a training workshop in September for working with children in disaster relief. I also might have an opportunity to get certified training in infant massage instruction, which I had planned on doing! If it is possible I will do both!
However, I do have to keep in mind that I have a lot on my plate already, so if it is not in the cards right away, I will do it down the line.
I am so excited to keep learning!
So this will be week 6 in FL for my child life practicum. I am in an infant toddler program working with the children in the PICU, IMCU, CVCU. The patients come from all over the hospital. I have the opportunity to see my supervisor in action introducing services, providing support, charting, planning calendar activities, easing anxiety during a PICC line, bereavement support. I am planning and implementing therapeutic play activities, providing comfort and distraction to patients, applying developmental theory, writing a case study, and creating a special project for the population. My supervisor says, this practicum will prepare me for the internship. This is so exciting! In the past weeks I made good luck banners to celebrate children who went home. I made a volcano with a patient. It was such a wonderful experience, the patient really enjoyed himself. He was thirteen but developmentally between ten and eleven years. The patient expressed the need for company. It was so great to be there for him. One of my supervisor’s responsibilities is planning all of the events during the week. I have helped host and recruited patients to come to the activities. I used one of my therapeutic play activities of making play dough with a patient. This past week I spent time with a precious 9month old girl who I have decided to do my case study on. I had the opportunity to plan and host ice breakers and self-esteem activities for an off-site cranio facial symposium for children ages 6-12. I also got to assist a 9 year old patient, as she walked 2 laps around the unit. I drove her pole close behind as I cheered her on along with a nurse and a child life supervisor. This weekend I completed my special project, which I will be showing my supervisor this week. I plan to try it out with my 9month old patient. We’ll see how it goes 🙂 I am trying to absorb as much as I can as this is truly a whirlwind that I am so excited to embark upon.
I am trying to make a point to keep up with posting. As it will be interesting information for me to refer back to and hopefully it will be easier for visitors to follow me.
I am in my fourth week of my second term in grad school. As I have mentioned in previous posts that means I have a ton of work to do. I am studying exceptionally enriching material that I will hold in my Child Life tool kit for sure. But nonetheless, I am quite swamped.
I am trying to finish applications for internship as well. In addition I have some great news… I got into a Summer Child Life Practicum-YAY!!! This will definitely be a great stepping stone to prepare me for when I do my internship. Not to mention it is something many hospital internship programs require and or prefer. So it is definitely a good thing to do.
I am so grateful, relieved, and excited to continue moving along my path.
*Keep on, Keeping on