Optimal Effects of Child Life Involvement in Pediatric Nursing

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    Incorporating child life specialists into patient care opens the door for a deeper connection between patient and healthcare providers. This eases the patient into expressing their feelings and thoughts and allows the care givers opportunity to connect with and better understand their patients. Child life specialist encourage growth for all dynamics and relationships involved. Their presence is an asset to the pediatric patient.

    Caring for the pediatric population can be extremely demanding on the nurse at times. Incorporating multi-disciplinary care along with family centered care can be difficult and challenging, yet provides such a remarkable experience for the patient. A large part of this is the result of child life specialists. The child life specialist alleviates a great deal of pressure for the nurse as it allows for a crucial and trusting relationship to be formed between the child life specialist and patient.

    Forming this bond creates a "safe place" for the children and they even look forward to having their child life specialist attend procedures and exams with them. The patients, as well as their families and nurses, are often left feeling relieved and comforted experiencing less anxiety and fear. Child life along side of nursing encompasses a healing and healthy relationship between all.

    The child life specialist attends four years of college majoring in childhood growth and development, psychology, and education. They are able to provide care based on identifying the developmental and age level of the patients. Upon meeting their educational requirements, the child life specialist begins an internship followed by a certification. This extensive training and education becomes the foundation of creating long lasting, caring, and trusting relationships.

    Many of the patients experience great relief when they are made aware that their favorite child life specialist will be first in line in, possibly even holding hands, during their procedures. The child life specialist explains step by step what is to be expected of that particular procedure and what they may experience in an appropriate way that the patient can understand.

    Most patients are scared and even terrified at times while visiting a hospital. The child life specialist is known to turn the perceived frightening experience into a happy, reassuring, and calming experience. This alleviates extra stress and tension on the nurse who is able to focus on the patient as a whole, as well as each part, and allow room for greater caring and healing.

    The nurse and child life specialist working concurrently strengthens the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental healing process. Incorporating child life into your patients care allows the kids to still be kids during their hospital stay. The patients are still able to play and act out any feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or fear in their play. Many times the patients just need to still feel like a kid, free from pain, and distrust. Child life assists the patients in having an experience that hopefully will leave them with a positive hospital stay.

    Child life specialists take opportunity to spend quality time with the patients and allow the kids freedom of play through expression of feelings and emotions. This connection encourages the act of caring and trust.

    Child life specialists take on a whole new approach and dynamic to caring for the patient and patient care, growth and development. Child life specialists add a unique advantage to the pediatric patient experience within the hospital by allowing understanding and acceptance for the patient, family and other healthcare professionals.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 9, '15
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  3. by   wooh
    Wish they worked nightshift. And more of them were available on weekends. And holidays.
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    When my kid was in the hospital after major trauma, the CLS was a godsend. I worship those people.
  5. by   tots24
    I LOVE Child Life. Once upon a time before I was a nurse I wanted to be a CCLS. I love them because they distract the kids while I get my work done, the families love them because they give their kids fun things to do, and the kids love them because they think they're their friends!
  6. by   xandarosa
    I love child life. My son is special needs. They go above and beyond with trying to find the best toys for him in the hospital and trying to explain everything. He actually understands a lot but has trouble communicating.
  7. by   LindaBright
    That is one of the most amazing programs for kids, families and for nurses!
  8. by   jmsnkids
    Our CCLS Anna is awesome--she is also a certified Recreational Therapist! She also has a special needs child of her own, so she really "gets it" when we care for the very precious kids at our palliative care facility. Child life professionals make the most difficult times for our little ones (and bigger ones) just that much better. They are definitely an irreplaceable part of the team!
  9. by   LaRoseRN
    I love child life! They offer so many wonderful, creative services!! So glad we have them as part of our team at work.
  10. by   Jgomulinski
    Our hospital provides child life coverage on weekends and holidays with selected units on nights. They are amazing!