Company/Organization: Child Life at Hackensack University Medical Center
Mentor(s):Ms. Meghan Shine
Topic of Internship
Child life specialists are healthcare professionals whose work addresses psychosocial issues related to illness and healthcare interactions for infants, children, adolescents, and their families. A child life specialist is an expert in child development, who promotes effective coping through play, psychological preparation, and self-expression. This clinician provides patient and family-centered interventions to emotionally help the child with medical procedures and hospital visits. Child life utilize play and the arts for developmentally appropriate interventions to support coping, decrease stress, and optimize development while pediatric patients are hospitalized or dealing with an illness or injury. These supportive therapeutic services meet the emotional, social, and developmental needs of patients and siblings through a patient and family-centered care approach. The therapeutic relationship established by child life specialists provide consistent support and creative opportunities to resolve any issues of loss, separation, anger, and anxiety related to illness and hospitalization. This relationship promotes healing and comfort. Child life specialists encourage the development of positive coping skills through stress reduction techniques, play, creative arts therapies, and verbal interactions.
Summary of Internship
My mentor, Meghan Shine, gives me about four patients to attend to. I provide them with activities they would like to do, such as coloring, puzzles, board games, etc. Child Life receives donated items, which they in turn give to the patients. These items can include toys, clothes, and blankets. When I go see my patients, I ask them if they would like blankets which they can keep for themselves. I also make sure that the parents or siblings arenít stressed out, and if they look even a bit disheveled, I inform Meghan. She has an undergraduate degree in sociology and assesses how the family is coping. I make sure the patients donít need anything, and in some cases, go to the playroom or the library to get in some walking exercise. Basically, I take care of the patients in the ways I can.
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