CLC2017

Comments 2 Standard

Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset

It’s almost time again for the national Child Life Conference and this year it’s in Las Vegas, Nevada! To see the (super exciting) program for conference click here. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to be attending this year’s conference, but if I don’t, the Association of Child Life Professionals has a wonderful backup plan for those that can’t make it all the way to Vegas this May. After you register for the conference, for $50 more you can purchase the “All Access Pass”. With this pass, you are able to watch all of the sessions that were at the conference and receive professional development units (PDU’s) for them! I purchased the “All Access Pass” for last year’s conference (which I was able to attend in person) and I HIGHLY recommend it. You have 1 year before the sessions expire and you can watch them all on your own time at your own speed. Now if we can just get them to mail us our complimentary tote bags and SWAG from all of the exhibitors we’ll be all set!

Whether you’re planning on attending or not, here are some conference tips:

  • Students: If you’re financially able to go to conference, GO!!!! I cannot stress this enough. I truly wish someone had told me when I was a student to attend one of these conferences. They’re incredible and you’ll leave ready to take on the child life world! Plus, not only is it a great place to network, and learn, it’s also something you can add to your resume that will prove to potential practicum/internship coordinators that you are truly interested in the field of child life.
  • Looking for a new job? Go to the conference! As I mentioned above this is a great place to network and there are even boards where you can post up your resume for potential interviews!
  • For those who cannot attend this year, try and do the all access pass! This is the option I’m leaning towards and yes, it’s not as fun as actually going to the conference, but the sessions this year really are phenomenal. Look at the program and highlight the sessions you’d be interested in – if you highlighted your entire program in yellow like I did, get the all access pass!
  • For those of you that are going to the conference, HAVE FUN! I was in Las Vegas last year for vacation – in fact, that is where the photo above came from! I highly recommend the Beatles love cirque du Soleil show – I laughed, cried, and fell in love again with the Beatles – 100% worth it. I also highly recommend checking out red rock canyon, which is about an hour outside of Vegas. They have tours and breathtaking views – do your research and get your desert fix.
  • Hurry! Prices for the conference will rise on April 1st, 2017! Register ASAP! 

 

Child Life Students

Leave a comment Standard


fullsizerender-1

  • The university I am attending/will be attending does not have a Child Life program – what do I do? 
    • One of the many wonderful things about the child life profession is that you do not need to major specifically in child life to become a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). The university I attended for my undergrad did not have a child life specific major either – I majored in Family and Child Sciences and Spanish. Instead pick a major that relates to child life (i.e., child development, psychology, etc.).
      • “Applicants must have completed a total of 10 college – or university-level courses in child life or a related department/subject including a minimum of one child life course (defined below) taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). This is the form on which the CCLS instructor verifies that the child life-specific curriculum has been taught.” http://www.childlife.org/certification
  • Which classes specifically should I be taking in college that will count towards my eligibility assessment? 
    • This is a question I get asked VERY often. For such specific information, I always urge my readers to contact someone at the Association for Child Life Professionals (ACLP) so that they can give you the most precise answer. Email: certification@childlife.org  However, I can tell you that you need 10 college level courses that relate to Child Life including at least one course taught by a certified child life specialist. If your university does not offer a child life major or child life track, then they probably won’t have this course and you will need to take it elsewhere. I took mine as an online course from the University of New Hampshire. For more information on the 10 courses, click here: http://www.childlife.org/docs/default-source/certification/exam/cl-course-verification-form—final.pdf?sfvrsn=12
  • What is the “eligibility assessment”?
    • The eligibility assessment is basically the gate between all of the education and clinical work you have completed and sitting to take the child life certification exam. It’s great to begin the process of adding courses to your eligibility assessment form as soon as possible to make sure you’re on the right track. Once you have your Bachelor’s degree, 10 courses (1 of which was taught by a CCLS), and your internship completed, then you can submit your eligibility assessment. If approved, you may then register to take the certification exam. If not approved, then you will need to go back, fulfill the requirements and resubmit. For more information on the eligibility assessment process, click here: http://www.childlife.org/docs/default-source/certification/eligibility-assessment-process-pdf.pdf
  • Should I go to grad school right after I finish my Bachelor’s degree or should I begin my practicum/internship? 
    • This is another question that I often get asked which I cannot answer. Everyone’s adventure in child life is different. Personally, I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, then did my practicum, then my internship, then became certified, and a year into my career as a CCLS, I began my Master’s degree. This wasn’t the right path or the wrong path – it was just my path and what worked best for me at the time. For specific questions regarding your path, e-mail the ACLP – certification@childlife.org 
  • Do you need a Master’s degree to become a CCLS? 
  • Do you have any tips or suggestions on how I can stand out in the Child Life world? 
  • Why, yes! I do! In fact, I wrote all my tips on this post: https://adventuresinchildlife.com/2015/11/07/how-to-stand-out-in-the-child-life-world/
  • Do you have any advice on how to study for the child life exam? 
  • This is another frequent question I receive which I have also written about here and here.

 

How to Stand Out in the Child Life World

Comments 10 Standard

IMG_7139

I often receive e-mails from Child Life students asking what I would recommend to make their application POP when up against others applying for a practicum/internship. This is a very valid question as you can imagine everyone your up against for the position also “loves kids” & is “very creative”. So, what are some things that you can add to your resume to stand out?

  • Experience with Kids
    We know you love kids (its a requirement for the job!), but show your program just how much. Hospitalized kids, kids in summer camps, babysitting, kids with special needs, tutoring, etc. By showing that you’ve worked with kids in a variety of settings you appear well rounded & it’s clear that you enjoy spending your time being around kids! Below are some of my favorite organizations that often are in need of volunteers:

  • Be Involved with the Child Life Council
    Becoming a member of the CLC will not only open a world of resources and information for you, but it will also show prospective hospitals that you’re serious about becoming a CCLS. Want to show them that you’re super serious about becoming a CCLS? Attend the Child Life Conference! Attending conference not only give you an opportunity to network, learn, and have fun in a new city, but it also looks very impressive on a resume. This shows interviewer that you’re passionate about Child Life, that you’re willing to learn about Child Life, and that you’ll be dedicated during your internship. Want to know more about what conference is like? Check out my post from the CLC conference 2014: https://adventuresinchildlife.com/2014/06/10/child-life-conference-recap/

  • Start a Blog
    Starting my blog was one of the best decisions I made in my journey to becoming a CCLS. Writing this blog gave me a reason to do research about the job, made me become aware of news and advancements happening in the field, network with other aspiring child life specialists, and now as a professional I use my blog as a portfolio of my work! Blogging about something shows that you’re truly interested in the topic and that you genuinely enjoy it. If you do decide to start a blog, let me know and I’ll give you a shout out! 🙂
  • Recognize your Special Talents
    There may be many special talents that you have that you don’t even consider special. Try and see things from a CCLS point of view and what they experience on a daily basis; do you have any skills that can relate?

    • Great at public speaking? As a CCLS you’re often times asked to provide in-services for members of the multidisciplinary team. It’s GREAT if you don’t faint at just the thought of speaking in front of a crowd.
    • Worked in retail during the dreadfully busy holiday season? Multitasking at a high-stress fast-paced job while having to maintain focus on customer service as well as the task at hand sounds a lot like Child Life to me!
    • Speak another language? Having grown up speaking Spanish myself, I never thought this would be something I’d mention during an interview – it’s no big deal, especially here in Miami where everyone speaks Spanish. This is an invaluable skill when working in healthcare (or anywhere, really!) and you should definitely brag about it.
    • Worked as a waitress/waiter or telemarketer during college? People skills are everything for Child Life. You need to know how to talk to children, yes, but you also need to know how to speak to their scared, angry, nervous, tearful parents.
  • Take Pictures
    It’s great to hear about how creative a candidate says she/he is, but it’s even better to see it! Take pictures (while abiding to HIPPA regulations) of the work you’ve done with children, medical play activities you’ve created, art work patient’s have made for you, etc. This will really make you stand out from other candidates.
  • Remember
    During your experiences volunteering or during your practicum, keep a journal of special moments that you witnessed the CCLS have with a child or that you yourself had with a child! Before an interview I always like to go over my personal journal where I’ve jotted down special moments I’ve had with patients and their families. This is a great “refresher” for when interviewers ask those great “Tell me about a time when you…” questions.

    • Trust me, if you don’t refresh on your experiences before an interview you’ll sit there trying to think of a special moment you had with a patient but all you’ll be able to think about is how much time you’ve been trying to think and how quiet everyone is & then you won’t even remember ever seeing a child before! Very awkward and a sure way to make you feel you “failed” the interview but it happens to the best of us!
    • If keeping a journal isn’t your thing, then when preparing for an interview make sure and just take some time to recall on those experiences & jot a few down. This way they’re fresh in your memory & you can think without eyes staring at you.
  • Research
    Now this point I’m only adding because I am 4 courses away from getting my masters degree so research has become my middle name. I now enjoy reading research articles for fun! (who am I?)  – All jokes aside, you really do learn a lot from reading research articles. Search articles about Child Life, pediatrics, distraction, siblings of hospitalized children, children’s perceptions of death, etc. Having this knowledge in your back pocket will really blow your interviewers away when you reply to a question with “Well, I actually read a research article about that which suggested…”
  • School
    If you’re still in school, tailor your classes as much as possible to Child Life (for those of you like me, whose university does not have a Child Life major). Take classes like medical terminology, children with special needs, a survey of developmental disabilities, death and dying, psychology, ethics, hospital management, etc. Different universities offer a wide range of courses so when picking classes always keep an eye out for those course descriptions that relate to Child Life and/or the hospital setting in general. My favorite elective was “childhood around the world”!
  • Be Creative
    Being creative is something all child life specialists claim to be but no two are the same. Show your creativity when applying for your position whether it’s decorating your application folder with washi tape or including an extra letter of recommendation from a child you know. After sorting through mountains of manila envelope applications, finding creativity in one will definitely set you apart. DISCLAIMER: don’t get too carried away with creativity; you are still applying for a professional role so shoving confetti into your application might be too much. Ask a trusted friend or parent for advice if you’re not sure! 

Tips for child life students

Leave a comment Standard

We’re living in a time when we’re pulling out our phones and taking pictures of everything. Take advantage of our easy access to photography and take pictures of your work! Therapeutic activities you come up with, medical art, crafts, child life events, cards/pictures given to you by patients, etc. You’ll love this decision when it comes time to applying to practicums/internships/jobs and you have a wide range of photos to choose from to include in your portfolio. In a field as competitive as ours, it’s important to really show what you have to offer & what better way than with an album of your best work!

* CAREFUL! Keep in mind there are laws & regulations when it comes to photographing patients in the hospital (HIPPA) – I am encouraging students to take pictures of their work , not of their patients. Not only is it against the law but a future employer will notice if you’ve violated these laws. *

20140618-132937.jpg

Tips for child life students

Comments 3 Standard

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.

20140618-141133.jpg

Course Work Review —> Eligibility Assessment Service

Leave a comment Standard

Image

I’ve been having a couple of Child Life students e-mail me asking about the pre-practicum/internship process. Since the Child Life Council (CLC) is currently restructuring this process, it can be a little confusing. Here’s what’s going on:

Up until April of this year, the process went like this: you submitted a “course work review” to the CLC – a document listing 15 child-related courses you’ve taken, 10 of which need to be approved. They would then send you back the course work review document signed, dated, and (hopefully) approved. That would then serve as your “golden ticket” to apply to practicums/internships.

However, the CLC is currently changing the system and the “new version” of the course work review – the Eligibility Assessment Service – will not be available until mid-july. This link goes more into detail about the switch & what the new version entails: {http://www.childlife.org/Certification/Getting%20Certified/CourseWorkReview.cfm}.

Interview Help

Comments 2 Standard

After many interviews for a practicum and an internship I’ve been able to collect quite a few interview questions. Here are some that have stood out to me:

20131124-191702.jpg

1. This is a common question in any interview. Pointing out your weaknesses is not a fun and easy thing to do, so I feel that it’s important to have thought these questions through prior to the interview so that you have strong answers.

2. I’ve heard this question in more than one occasion. You’re going to want to talk about past experiences with children and I feel that this question is a great window into being able to bring up some of those experiences.

3. A big part of my practicum was dedicated to developing our elevator speech (how you would describe child life to someone of they asked you in an elevator.) It’s good to have your elevator speech thought out and ready to go for interviews, yes, but also for yourself!

4. This question caught me off guard when I was first asked. It’s easy to get caught up with studying theorists, child development, and scenarios and while yes, that’s all extremely important, interviewers want to know about you as a person too!

5. Everyone’s goal for an internship or practicum (should) be to learn more about the career and gain enough experience to move on to the next step. Take some time before your interviews and create a list of goals you have that will set you apart from the obvious.