I'm in the process of making a very tough career decision and can use any advice I can get! I've worked with young children in daycare centers for over 10 years (I have a B.A. in Child Development), but feel like I've exhausted my potential in that field and want to do something with my life that I feel would be more meaningful. A few years ago I went to graduate school for 1 semester to study for an MA in Child Life so I could eventually get certified as a Child Life Specialist. Unfortunately, I ended up dropping the program as I wasn't really pleased with the education I got at my school, and it was the only school in my area that offered a course of study in Child Life. I always regretted not getting my certification, but I recently learned that I didn't even need the graduate school experience in the first place, all I need is a 500 hour internship at a children's hospital. Part of me would like to resume a Child Life career path, but now I find that I'm torn between doing that or investing a little more time and studying to become a peds or neonatal nurse. I understand that unlike nursing, Child Life jobs are very few and far between, and in most cases you have to relocate for a position. Nursing does seem to have a lot more job possibilities, plus I understand the pay is better than Child Life. Does anybody here wish they'd gone into Child Life or a related field as opposed to peds nursing? Do the Child Life Specialists really get to spend more quality time with the children and do the families respond better to them, etc..? Any advice for the newbie would be very much appreciated as I am checking out a few nursing schools, but am really confused at this point as to what direction I should take. Thanks in advance!
Aug 18, '01
I have thought a few times I would have liked to be a child life specialist. In our hospital, the cls sees the child for about an hour/day tops. They are a very vital part of the child's hospital experience. There have been many times where they are the only motivation for a child to get out of bed. The benefit I see for nurse vs clp is that as a nurse, you have the opportunity to devote an entire shift to a few kids and you can do alot of what the clp does. I can't speak for all pediatric settings, but ours has a pretty low nurse patient ratio, and we are blessed to have more time to do the fun things associated with being a pediatric nurse. Why not get your nursing degree, work peds a while and if you still want to do cls, you've not really lost anything. I imagine a nurse certified in child life would be pretty well sought after. Good luck in your decision!! Aren't children just wonderful??
Aug 23, '01
Earlier today I received an e-mail notifying me that somebody had responded to my original post in this thread. Unfortunately my computer crashed and I ended up losing the message. I don't know why it didn't get posted to the board and I didn't find any private messages either. Could you re-send it please? I'm sorry but I wasn't even able to get your username! Thanks!!