Tips for child life students

I remember feeling nervous a lot during my practicum and internship because I feared not knowing exactly what to do in any given situation – what if I prep a 6-year-old for a CT Scan and they still freak out? What do I say to a 14-year-old that just found out she is pregnant? How do I convince a 4-year-old to eat his scrambled eggs for his food allergy trial? Did this mean I didn’t study enough? Or that I wasn’t a good CCLS in training? No!

It wasn’t until I was half way through my internship that I confessed this fear to my supervisor and she told me “You are not expected to know what to do in every situation. You’re a student and you’re here to learn from us. It’ll take many years of experience to know how to handle every situation and even then you might be surprised.” Those words helped me tremendously not only in accepting that there were things I have yet to learn but it also helped me focus on what I do know. Now, as a first year ccls, there are still situations that I won’t know exactly how to handle & that’s okay! With my academic background and the experiences from my practicum/internship, I feel confident that when an uncomfortable situation arises I’ll be able to figure it out.


4 responses to “Tips for child life students”

  1. Thanks for sharing this piece of advice. I’m starting my practicum in September with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and this is the same fear I’ve had. It’s hard to remember this because of the pressure to help the kids and their families and live up to the expectations of the people that gave you the opportunity. Thanks for easing this girl’s nerves!

  2. I’m in the middle of my practicum right now at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and this is a constant fear of mine. Also wondering if my reports are good enough or long enough and if I said the right thing in a certain situation. Thank you for the reminder that I don’t have to know and for sharing your adventures on this road to being a child life specialist!

  3. Thank you I’m currently completing my Practicum and I face the same challenge of not knowing enough. I appreciate your honesty.

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