What motivated you to become a certified child life specialist? Why are you passionate about your position? It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I learned about the Child Life profession. I had switched my major a few times, but knew I definitely wanted to work with kids and was drawn to the healthcare field. My “ah-ha” moment happened in a Developmental Psychology course where I learned about Child Life. I love helping kids and families. Some days are much harder than others, but it’s a very rewarding job and I get to have a lot of fun with patients! I have been a Certified Child Life Specialist for the past 5 years. I worked on the Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit at the U of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital for the past 3 ½ years and I am now the Child Family Life Supervisor at Fairview Ridges Hospital. Child Life Specialists work with pediatric patients and families to provide developmentally appropriate learning opportunities to reduce fears and maximize coping before, during, and after medical experiences.
What’s your favorite Fairview moment?
One of my favorite moments was helping create and organize a Flash Mob on Superhero Day at UMMCH. I have also loved being a facilitator for SibShops, a support program for siblings of children with healthcare needs. I am very excited to be part of a group creating a smart phone/tablet application that will be available this winter for parents to help prepare their children for hospital experiences (the app will be called “Passport to University of MN Masonic Children’s Hospital” and will be available on iTunes and the Google Play store). My favorite memories are working 1:1 with patients and families. Kids are amazingly strong and resilient. It’s a privilege to prepare them for a medical experience or teach them a new coping technique and see them succeed with a procedure.
What do you love about working at Fairview? I love that Fairview has such a strong connection with the University of Minnesota. In my previous role as the Child Life Specialist on the Blood and Marrow Transplant unit at UMMCH, every day I saw firsthand the lifesaving research that UM Physicians are doing! At Fairview Ridges, I love the sense of community. Everyone knows everyone and all members of the interdisciplinary team work in collaboration with nurses and physicians. It’s a hospital and system I’m proud to work at and proud to receive care at.
What distinguishes you from other Certified Child Life Specialists in your field? What approaches do you take? Child Life Specialists are challenged every day with how to help patients cope with different procedures and medical experiences. We all have to think creatively on how to quickly build rapport with a patient and provide the right teaching and distraction so that the patient will be able to cope with a procedure. I love that we all think differently and provide a wide range of therapeutic interventions for the same procedure. We then often share these intervention ideas so that they could be helpful for someone else. It’s great to have multiple preparation and distraction ideas because what works for one kid might not work for another.
Interested in a career at Fairview? Explore opportunities here: http://www.fairview.org/Careers/index.htm