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Practicum in a Nutshell

Hi, guys! I know, I know…. I went off the map once again. To update you all: I spent the summer months working at a restaurant back home and trying to spend as much time relaxing and hanging out with my friends as I could. It was pretty uneventful, until the end of July when I started my 4-week practicum. For those 4 weeks, I commuted to a hospital an hour and a half away, plus a time change where I lost an hour on the way there. So yes, I was completely and utterly exhausted for the entire month.However, I didn’t notice or mind it until I got home and wanted to go to sleep at 7 o’clock every night (LOL). Three words to sum up my experience: Best. Month. Ever.

To start, I was on 3 inpatient floors every day, with freedom to roam from floor to floor/playroom to playroom. Wherever the kids were, I was. I planned an activity in one of the playrooms or at bedside every day, which was awesome. For my activity one of the days, I did a teddy bear clinic in one of the playrooms. It turned out SO well and I had a blast! I was so surprised at how many kids actually showed up for it; the first people I had participate were a 15 year-old male patient and his younger brother. We joked at first about them playing with dolls, but after a few minutes of playing video games the younger brother came around and before long, everyone was involved and having so much fun. I did a little bit of medical play with some of the kids, and they really had a good time being able to play the doctor.

Here’s some pictures of the activities I passed out to patients’ bedside:

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Beaded Pipe Cleaner Snake
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Popsicle Stick Airplane
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Popsicle Stick Dragonfly
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Teddy Bear Clinic Registration Table

My supervisor was so helpful and always willing to answer any questions I had. She was so great about paging me to observe her for a distraction or preparation whenever possible. The other child life specialists were also really great about paging me whenever they didn’t have an intern with them.

The last week of my practicum, the interns went to camp with one of the specialists, which worked out really well in my favor (although I was super jealous of their week at camp). The last week I was able to spend time in the NICU, the Emergency Department, the Hematology/Oncology Clinic, and in the Diabetes Clinic. It was AWESOME. Every day I felt like I was getting to see and learn something new, and spend a lot of time with some of the child life specialists that I hadn’t gotten to meet. Every single one of them was so willing to show me everything they could and let me learn as much as possible. I couldn’t have been more grateful for that week.

Throughout the course of the month that I was there, I had reading assignments from my supervisor and each week we sat down together and went over them. A lot of them were things I had previously read for school assignments, but it was really insightful to get someone else’s perspective on them and see how they put theory into practice. I met so many people in those 4 weeks that really helped me grow as a student and a future professional. I have always said that the best way to learn is through experience, and that definitely holds true for child life. No matter how much you study in school or how well you do on your exams, nothing can compare to the knowledge you get from actually spending time in a hospital with kids.

As sad as I was to see my time at the hospital end, I was so ready for some sleep and to enjoy the last 2 weeks of my summer. They went by WAY too fast, and school has already started back in full-swing. Internship applications were due September 5th, so I have been praying that’s how I’ll be spending my spring semester.

I will definitely keep you guys updated on what happens next for me on this journey, and I will be back SO soon to tell you guys all about a very, very exciting event that I’m starting on my campus this fall!

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