Child life month! 

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As a 1 person program working solely in the ER, here’s how I’m celebrating!

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  • Implementation of a Child Life newsletter for the nurses lounge.
  • A Child Life trivia quiz! Everyone fills out a sheet & returns it to me. I will pick random sheets to “grade” and the first person I pick that gets all the answers correct, wins!
  • A baby photo contest – staff bring in a baby photo and it goes up on our board. First person to guess everyone correctly wins.
  • Child life table teepees for the waiting room.
  • Child life coloring sheets for the waiting room.
  • A day of having food catered for the department (THANK YOU upper management!)
  • A Child life “emergency kit” for the doctors lounge.
  • Child life month bulletin board.
  • Guest spot on our PEDS ED monthly newsletter!
  • Bubble rounds! Child life assistant and I will randomly go room to room and blow bubbles for the patients to celebrate Child Life month – creatively thought up by one of my Child Life Assistants – (funny with the teen patients & a great way to raise awareness!)

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Camp Erin

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Over the weekend I volunteered at Camp Erin, a bereavement camp for children and teens that have experienced the loss of a loved one. Because I am a CCLS, I was a “clinical point person” at the camp – someone that the children in my group could turn to if they were feeling overwhelmed or wanted to discuss some deeper emotions that they were feeling. My group consisted of nine 6-8 year old girls (yes, VERY young)! We did art therapy, music therapy, and even pet therapy! All with the goals of identifying emotions and learning about our feelings as well as doing nice things for our loved one. One important thing that I noticed this camp provided was the opportunity for these children to realize that other kids go through this too & that they are not alone in their grief. It was so heartwarming to see the girls comfort eachother and really connect with the activities that we were doing. 

Camp Erin was an amazing experience and I definitely encourage all of you Child Life-ers out there to volunteer! If not as a clinical point person, then as a Cabin Big Buddy! It’s great experience (& will look so impressive on any application/resume)! 





Favorite Find of the Month

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At the end of this month I will be spending the weekend volunteering at Camp Erin – a bereavement camp for children. This past weekend we had a pre-camp pizza party to meet all of the campers, their families, and help reduce some of that pre-camp anxiety that usually builds in the weeks before sleep-away camp. We had a lot of fun at our pizza party – we played games, got to know each other, had pizza (of course), and sang songs while the veteran volunteers spoke to the parents/caregivers about specifics about camp. When speaking to one of the 6-year-old girls in my group, she told me all about this Elmo video she watched that “explained about when people die and that it’s okay to cry”. This Elmo grief video rang a bell, but I decided to do some more research when I got home. Turns out, Sesame Street offers their resources for free to download online, in English and Spanish! This is such an incredible resource to know about when dealing with bereavement and grief with children. Thank you, chatty little 6-year-old!

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Camp Erin : https://www.moyerfoundation.org/programs/camperin.aspx

Elmo Grief Resources: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/tlc/griefresources

Image Source: http://www.sesamestreet.org/muppets/elmo

Child Life in the classroom

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My best friend is a 2nd grade teacher and is now in the middle of her lessons on the human body. She decided to have a very special guest go and speak to her students about the hospital… me! I got to go and teach 2nd graders about Child Life and the hospital! I was a little nervous before I got there since my lessons with patients are usually 1 on 1 and it’s been so long since I’ve been in the classroom setting, but it was so much fun!

I started the lesson by telling them a little about my job as a Child Life Specialist and how I help kids in the hospital. Then, I asked them what were some reasons that kids might visit the hospital. We talked about broken bones, stitches, IV’s, shots, and even operations.

Of course, I brought a ton of medical supplies with me: a cast, a hospital gown, a syringe that I filled with hand sanitizer and then gave a little to each student to show them how they work, an IV catheter, my teaching doll with sutures, and more fun things they were able to try on & play with.

The students had all written down questions and stories for me on little scraps of paper ahead of time so it was very easy to move from topic to topic.

We all had a lot of fun and learned a lot!

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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