A LOT has happened these last two months in my adventure in child life. I am so happy and excited to let you all know that I have started a new job as a child life specialist at a new hospital! Here’s a list of the crazy changes this new job brings:
- Children’s hospital within an adult hospital –> Stand alone children’s hospital
- Independent child life program –> Well established child life team of 12+ specialists
- Out patient setting (Emergency Room) –> In patient setting (Respiratory Unit)
- Working 3pm-11pm –> Working 9am-5pm (This is huge! As a morning person, this is something I’ve missed – big time!)
- Very limited resources to provide for patients/families –> A WORLD of resources to provide for patients/families
- Short length of stay for the patients –> Long length of stay for the patients
- Very fast paced interventions –> Slower paced interventions
I am so excited about all of the changes and what this means for my professional growth. I am eager to learn about the new population of kids I will be working with and to be a part of such a big and supportive Child Life team. Having done my practicum and internship at stand-alone children’s hospitals, being a part of a big Child Life team is something I’ve always missed. Support from other CCLS’s is an invaluable aspect of succeeding in the Child Life world in my opinion, and I am so happy to have that again.
However, I want to take the time to state how incredibly blessed I feel to have been able to spend my first two years as a CCLS working in an emergency department. I wouldn’t trade the time I spent there for anything in the world and I feel that it served as an incredible base for my career. Here’s what I learned:
- Confidence; In the ER you’re not always called upon to provide services for patients. Things happen very quickly, there is a lot of stress in the air, everyone seems to always be rushing. Being in the ER taught me how to throw myself into situations that I wasn’t necessarily invited into.
- Prioritization; Being the only CCLS on staff in the ER, it was up to me to cover the 24 beds and be aware of where my services were most needed. Being in the ER taught me how to figure out how to prioritize my census list.
- Thicker Skin; The nature of the emergency room is usually very fast-paced and stressful with a wide variety of medical staff. Being in the ER taught me how to work with people in high stress environments and how to work with difficult personalities (to all of the Grey’s Anatomy fans, think…working in a place with many Christina Yangs).
- Empathy; The ER is also filled with highly anxious patients and parents waiting for answers about recent changes in their child’s health. Working in the ER has taught me how to listen and really understand and address the fears and concerns of the patients and families we see.
- Teamwork; There is something unique about working so closely with your co-workers in an environment like the ER. I quickly became very close to many of my co-workers which not only made work more fun, but made us “the dream team” when providing support for our patients and their families. I consider many of my co-workers some of the best friends I’ve ever had! Working in the ER taught me how crucial it is to be a team player.
- Knowledge; The ER is the front line. We get everything, the kids with asthma, the kids with lacerations, the kids with appendicitis, kids with the flu, new chronic illness diagnosis, kids with broken bones, the list goes on and on. Working in the ER has given me knowledge of a wide range of symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments, which is sure to help me along my adventure in child life.
Again, I’ll always cherish the two years I worked in that ER; the families I met, the laughs, the tears, my beautiful work family I became so close to, and most importantly, all of those times I saw the true magic of what Child Life is all about.