Child Life Heroes: Child Life in Kenya (Part Two)

In August, Morgan Livingstone, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and Child Life Director of World Eye Cancer Hope Charity, made her annual trip to Eldoret, Kenya for the child life training that she hosts for the Sally Test Child Life Program at Shoe4Africa Hospital (Kenya’s only public pediatric hospital) within Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Among the many child life resources and materials she brought along with her, SpellBound was one of them. Morgan thought it’d be a wonderful idea to introduce the technology to the seven child life specialists there to use with patients, and we agreed.

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Rachel MartindaleComment
Child Life Heroes: Child Life in Kenya (Part One)

In August, Morgan Livingstone, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and Child Life Director of World Eye Cancer Hope Charity, packed her bags and headed to Eldoret, Kenya for the annual child life training that she hosts for the Sally Test Child Life Program at Shoe4Africa Hospital (Kenya’s only public pediatric hospital) within Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. If you read our past blog post about how Morgan has cultivated a child life program in Kenya, you know how much work, time, and energy she has devoted into making this possible. She’s incredibly passionate about nurturing and supporting the growth of locally sustainable child life programs within Kenyan Healthcare.

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Rachel MartindaleComment
A Child Life Student's View of the Profession

Child life is a growing field and we’re seeing the profession expand into more areas like disaster relief, private practice, and assisting during traumatic events. Even so, it’s still a very competitive field and more individuals are studying to become child life specialists. With this, we hope that there will be a continuous increase in the amount of avenues that aspiring child life specialists can utilize their skills. Here’s one child life student’s perspective:

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Rachel MartindaleComment
A Parent's Perspective on Child Life

While child life specialists primarily work with children, we know that they impact much more than just the child. Whether directly or indirectly, siblings, parents, grandparents, and other family members are significantly affected by the work of child life specialists. We wanted to hear about the effects of Child Life from a lesser-heard perspective: the parent. As a mom of two young daughters, here is Christina's story:

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Rachel MartindaleComment
Cultivating Child Life in Kenya

While the child life profession is gaining more popularity in North America and other, more Westernized countries, there are still many areas of the world that don’t have access to child life services. Just recently, we featured a blog post on paving the way for Child Life in Japan, the largest child life presence in Asia with 50 certified child life specialists (CCLSs). 50 may not seem like much in comparison to the thousands of child life specialists in the US, but it’s still significant compared to the areas that have none. This is why we need dedicated child life specialists who are passionate about building global child life programs from the ground up and advocates to support them.

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Rachel MartindaleComment
IV Starts Don't Have to Hurt

The sheer number of IV starts that are done in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings is greatly under-appreciated, except, of course, by patients, nurses, and the certified child life specialists (CCLS) who support patients during these procedures. It’s estimated that hundreds of millions of needle procedures are administered in the U.S. every year, and on average, an emergency room does 5,900+ IV starts in that time.

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Christina YorkComment
Child Life Heroes: Paving the Way in Japan

Child life is a fast-growing field in North America, but it’s also catching on in other countries around the world. Hospitals, schools, and organizations spanning the globe are recognizing the ways that child life specialists can help kids. Being based in the United States, we may be familiar with what child life looks like in North America, but child life in other countries has some significant differences. Eriko Miura is a certified child life specialist (CCLS) at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, and she has first-hand insight about some of these differences. Her child life story starts as a second year psychology student in college.

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Child Life Heroes: Navigating the Child Life Journey

Becoming a certified child life specialist (CCLS) is hard work. It takes a lot of schooling, training, preparation, and dedication to get the certification and the job. But it’s worth it because child life specialists make a huge impact in the lives of kids and families each day. To get a better perspective of the process of becoming a CCLS, I asked Ashley Bain, a child life student, about her current child life internship and the advice she has for those navigating the child life journey.

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Child Life Heroes: Continuing the Work Through Blogging

After years of training and professional experience in child life, child life specialists build up a amazing amount of specialized skills and knowledge that can help others in their field. In recent years, blogging has provided an effective platform for child life specialists to share their best practices and insights with their peers and to learn about the field. When Dawn Klausmeier, CCLS (certified child life specialist), C-CISM (certified critical incident stress management), transitioned into staying at home with her two kids in 2017, she decided to continue her child life work by sharing her knowledge through blogging. I recently asked her about her experience as a child life specialist and how she uses her blog, Dose of Play, to support others.

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Superhero Princess and the Power of Play

Every child has a deep, intrinsic love for play. I was reminded of this during a visit to the Family Center at C.S. Mott's Children's Hospital. Among the children in the room, I saw a little girl of about 5 years old who was sitting in a large wheelchair. Her body was weak, connected to a variety of lines and equipment. She wore a princess gown, but that wasn’t fun enough: she wanted a superhero cape, too! And with the cape, of course, she wanted someone to push her wheelchair around the hospital at high speed so she could feel like she was flying. As tired and sick as she was, the playful spirit bubbling out of her was unmistakable and heartwarming.

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Child Life Heroes: A One-Person Show

How would you balance working in the pediatric inpatient unit and outpatient oncology clinic, teaching a pre-surgery class four days a week, and providing after-hours cerebral palsy patient support once a month? Alexandria Friesen, Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), is doing just that as a one-person child life program at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I had the opportunity to ask her a bit more about her unique experiences of being the only CCLS in the hospital.

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Child Life Heroes: Child Life Month Feature

This Child Life Month, we hosted a nomination-based giveaway for child life specialists to nominate their colleagues and give recognition for their work. Emily Kittell, Certified Child Life Specialist at American Family Children’s Hospital, was the winning nominee. Emily’s nominator, Kristen Lawrence, spoke highly of how she has worked in a variety of different hospital settings and has impacted many patients and families, so I was excited to learn more about her role and experience as a CCLS.

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Rachel MartindaleComment
10 Ways To Celebrate Child Life Month

Tomorrow marks the first day of Child Life Month where hospitals around the world have the opportunity to celebrate child life specialists and the Child Life profession through education and raising awareness. This is often done through play, creativity, activities, learning opportunities, and much more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ways to celebrate Child Life Month, so get creative and find what best suits your hospital and child life team! Your child life specialists are awesome, and this is their month. Here are some ways you can celebrate them and kickstart your Child Life Month celebrations:

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Rachel MartindaleComment
How Your Hospital Can Leverage the Power of Social Media

This Valentine’s Day, we teamed up with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital to create something extra special for the kids. Mott gathered valentine greetings from all over the world and we brought them to life with augmented reality. Over 23,000 interactive valentines were sent from over 25 countries and included a dino, a digger, a robot, and a Michigan helmet and football that each had a SpellBound 3D experience.

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Rachel MartindaleComment
5 Uses for Augmented Reality in Children's Hospitals

Over the last couple years, we've begun to see the revolutionary effects of what augmented reality (AR) can do for kids in the hospital. Augmented reality is a view of the real world with added digital information on top of it--an example of this would be Pokemon Go. When used by child life specialists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists, AR can be safe, effective, and immensely impactful for patients. Here are 5 ways AR brings the greatest value to patients, families, therapists, and hospitals:

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What's All The Buzz About Child Life?

In the last couple weeks, you may have seen in the news that New Orleans Saints’ punter Thomas Morstead raised $221,143 for Children’s Minnesota’s Child Life program and is now in the process of raising over $100,000 for Child Life programs in Louisiana. What is Child Life? And why should you want Child Life at your local hospital? Although it often doesn’t receive a lot of attention, Child Life plays a huge role for kids across the world.

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5 Ways Hospitals Are Using Experiential Design to Make Their Hospital Stays Better

More and more hospitals are focusing on the experience of a hospital visit to understand how they can help patients feel more comfortable during their stay. They are using a process called design thinking, which means they research the process of an ordinary hospital stay and use that information to curate an experience that is extraordinary. This helps patients interpret hospital situations differently, and come away feeling less fearful or frustrated.

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Anna KonsonComment