Favorite Find of the Month

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Hello Child Life-ers!

If you know me you know I’m a sucker for freebies, which is why this month’s favorite find are these adorable nursing coloring books by Johnson & Johnson!

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If you’re interested in these, you can find them at http://www.discovernursing.com/resources/free-materials#no-filters  (on the 2nd page). You’re able to order 25 at a time & have them shipped to your hospital. They make a great give away for any department & your nurses will LOVE them!

2015

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IMG_5899January 6th marks my one year anniversary of having started my career as a Child Life Specialist. I thought I’d be cool if I shared some things I learned during my first year as a CCLS as well as some confessions!

  • Socrates could not have been more right when he said “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.” With this year coming to an end, I am shocked at how much I’ve learned this year through all of my experiences. I can’t help but wonder how I survived the first couple of months not knowing what I know today. When I finished my internship I thought I knew it all and was READY to take on the (child life) world! Turns out I didn’t (and don’t) know it all but I am constantly growing and learning.
  • My introduction of services changes as often as the hospital makes me change my passwords. Does this happen to anyone else?!
  • It’s so rare to meet a family that knows what Child Life is that when a mother says “Oh! we love child life!” I (on more than one occasion!) become so shocked I lose my train of thought and forget what to say.
  • It’s a lot harder to get (appropriate) donations than it seems.
  • As much as I tell patients to take a deep breath and let it go, I give myself the same advice. Sometimes there are just some situations where nothing I do/say helps, and that’s okay! Better to have tried and lost than to have never tried at all.
  • It’s hard at first, but it’s so exhilarating to have the weekend off and not check your work e-mail from home.
  • Not all days are filled with fun, exciting, and clever Child Life interventions, but the days that are… those are the best days.
  • Prioritizing is a skill and needs to be practiced. For example, the other day I was on the way to the bathroom when a 6 year old girl ran out of her room screaming and crying because the doctor just told her she’s going to have blood drawn. As I was walking up to her another doctor stopped to ask me to assist with a nervous 8 year old laceration repair. While trying to decide who to help first, my phone rings with the radiology department asking for my assistance with a 3 year old patient that is having a hard time coping with her CT scan. So, in these three situations that were happening at the moment, how do I prioritize? I’ll let you guess which situation I took care of first, but I can tell you that I waited until all of this was over and everyone was happy until I went to the bathroom! 1 point for my super bladder!
  • Gaining holiday weight is not a thing for Child Life Specialists because you spend the month of December running, carrying, squatting, and pushing heavy stretchers/flatbeds  through the hospital – and we couldn’t be more grateful!
  • I am so incredibly happy that I get to go to work every day and do my dream job.

Practice EKG

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I recently had a pre-school patient be very anxious about getting an EKG. Simply explaining what an EKG is wasn’t enough for this concrete thinker, so we did some medical play! I brought in my teaching doll, Eliza, and we practiced putting foam shapes on Eliza’s chest. He got to place the stickers and remove them afterwards. We also made sure to tell Eliza the rule about laying still like a statue so the computer can make sure the stickers are on right & listen to his heart! Then, we put some stickers on ourselves & practiced laying still like a statue. Once I saw that he was more comfortable with the stickers and holding still, I showed him the silly stickers the nurse was going to use & assured him that they we just little sticky stickers like my foam shapes. During the EKG I stuck around and reminded the patient to lay still like a statue just like Eliza & told him what a great job he was doing. The EKG was a success & my little guy did great!

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Holiday craft kits.

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I’ve been putting together some holiday themed craft kits for the kiddos in our ER. I was able to find these gingerbread foam stickers from oriental trading & made little bags with 10 in each & a white piece of paper. They’ve been a huge hit so far & were super easy/cheap to make.

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Favorite apps

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I just recently got approval to use an iPad as a tool for distraction and education with my patients. I am so grateful to finally be able to use this amazing tool! Here are some of my favorite apps that I’ve been using:

Medi toons is my go-to app when doing appy teachings for older kids and parents. it’s a free app that shows videos about different (mostly gastro) conditions.

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This app was recently reviewed by one of my favorite child life bloggers, child life mommy. It’s a [free] app that helps teach little ones to control their frustration by remembering to breathe, think, and then do!
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Wellapets is an awesome [free] app about asthma! This interactive game does a great job of promoting asthma education in a fun way.

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This is my go to app for MRI & CT scan teachings. Just last week I had a 9yo patient that was going to have an MRI. He’d had them before but was always been sedated for them. I showed him what the MRI machine sounded like with this app & thanks to that, he said he didn’t need any medicine to do his MRI this time. Thanks, Simply Sayin’!

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Disney Junior Appisodes is a forever favorite. This app features familiar beloved characters in an interactive & colorful display. This is ideal for lengthy procedures & really engages children in the appisode.

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Caillou’s check up app has been a very popular pick on my iPad. So popular I decided to splurge a bit ($4.99) and unlock all of the “levels” (you get the first level for free). With this app you’re able to help Caillou with his doctor’s office check up: taking his temperature, height, weight, etc.

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I downloaded this app just as a filler to have more choices for my toddler population and for some reason it’s also been a very popular choice amongst my patients. It’s a simple free little app in which you’re given tasks to complete such as  puzzles, picking the largest fish, picking the smallest fish, etc. while calming, ocean-themed music plays in the background. I’m very impressed with this app and it’s popularity!

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And finally, Skylanders Lost Islands. This free app is VERY popular with wide age range of my male patients. It’s great for the younger ones because it plays a 4-5minute video upon starting which is very dramatic and engaging. For my older boys, it’s a fun and interactive game with familiar characters.

Worth it: 002

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Earlier this week we had a little 5-year-old, let’s call her Emily, visit the ER for constipation. After 2 unsuccessful enemas, the doctors and nurses decided it would be best to just have her drink a medicine that would help do the job of the enema. Little Emily would drink a sip, cry about how bad it tasted, and then spend the time between sips bargaining with her mom for alternatives to avoid taking another sip. During this chaos, one of the ed techs called for me. I went in and introduced myself. Emily was shy and serious upon meeting me, but as soon as I brought out my bubble wand she was all smiles! Leaping up to catch the bubbles, giggling, and smiling from ear to ear. Once all the bubbles popped, she looked at me to blow more – I told her that in order for me to blow more, she needed to take a sip. Immediately she grabbed the cup from mom’s hand, took a sip, and I blew more bubbles. When the bubbles popped and the giggles stopped, she said she didn’t want anymore sips. I encouraged her to take another this and then I would blow a BIG BIG bubble. She smiled again and took another sip. I then blew a big big bubble. This went on for a few minutes while she drank the rest of her medicine. In the end, I congratulated her for being brave and drinking her medicine even though it didn’t taste good and since she was so brave, I gave her her own bubble wand to take home with her. The parent’s were relieved that their visit to the ER didn’t end with their little Emily crying all the way home.