Drum roll please…..

I secured myself a practicum!!!!

On Tuesday June 26th I drove about 2 hours north for an interview at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. It was a group interview and honestly I was pretty nervous. Up until this point I had done 6 phone int58ac5444e9a9aerviews. All of the practicums were out of state, so phone interviews were the best route. None of those phone interviews went well. They were awkward, I had a hard time playing off the interviewers reactions since I was unable to see them, and I feel like it’s just very hard to sell yourself over the phone.

So although the interview at UC Davis was 2 hours away I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to do an in person interview. It was a group interview, so it was me plus 3 other candidates interviewing with 3 Child Life Specialists. Now, this is the first time UC Davis is offering a practicum – I was completely unaware of this – so I really was only up against 3 other girls. I didn’t have to try to compete against a ton of other people. This absolutely worked in my favor.

We were asked 5 questions:

  • What is it about UC Davis that made you apply here as opposed to another hospital?
  • What is your experience like and how does it set you apart from the rest of the candidates?
  • In what area do you think you can improve your work with children?
  • What is your elevator speech for what a Certified Child Life Specialist does?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

I walked away from the group interview feeling great. I was able to listen to the other candidates responses to the questions that were asked, and what each of their experiences with kids was like. In all honesty, I felt like I was truly one of the more qualified candidates. After the interview, the current Child Life interns at UC Davis came to pick the 4 of us up and took us on a quick tour of the floors. This was pretty cool because we got to pick the brains of two current interns and it got us excited to see where we may complete our practicum.

About a week later I got a call from a woman named Emily at UC Davis and she offered me a spot – they had two spots to give! I was thrilled, I just wanted to scream, but at the same time I was speechless. I have been waiting for this for so long and I got the break I needed! I finally feel like I am on the right track and making really good progress in my career.

My practicum will begin in October 2018, and go through December 2018. It will be about 12 hours a week, 2 days a week. The Child Life team is still figuring out logistics but I will certainly be documenting my experiences! It sounds like we will do two rotations one in the infusion center and one in the PICU. We will have assignments to complete while there such as presenting a case study, as well as readings. I am really excited that I will be at the hospital during the holidays! I am sure I will have a ton of fun activities to show everyone.

This is going to sound a bit corny but, I believe in signs. The week before my interview I had Chinese food and received these TWO fortunes in one cookie: I took them as a sign. Dont give up!

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So, how did I do it?

I think a lot of it was luck. I know this isn’t helpful, but I wasn’t up against many other candidates.

I prepared for the interview! I have a list of interview questions that I have typed up, that I reviewed my answered for so I knew what to talk about. If you want it, let me know and I will send it along!

My experience. I know this got me ahead of others. We all have babysitting, nannying, and a genuine love for children. However, I have 5 years volunteer experience in a hospital setting, and I spent the last 7 months working one on one with a child as a behavior specialist in his school. I worked with his school team, healthcare providers, and blended family. I also spent time at an Oncology camp as a camp counselor. This 100% put me ahead because I was able to reference these experiences of how I am more prepared than others for this practicum.

I went in very confident! I felt good about myself, I got myself a coffee on the drive there, I did my make up, got a blow out that morning, and was really just feeling genuinely good about myself.

And if all else fails….Fake it till you make it!!! If you pretend you know what you are doing, people will believe you actually know what you’re doing and will put confidence in you! I do this often unfortunately, but it works!

GOOD LUCK!!!

The end of Child Life month

Child Life month (March) was filled with a ton of excitement for me. Including getting a few fun prizes for a child life giveaway I entered.

I have followed Shani (Child Life Mommy) for the past few years. She was one of the first Child Life Specialist I contacted when I was looking for information on the field of child life. More recently, I came across Dawn (Dose of Play), Randi (Kid Cope Specialist), and Diane (Adventures in Child Life). These incredibly women have all been inspirations while navigating the field as well as creating this blog!

For Child Life month some child life specialists like to do give aways of something they have created, a favorite distraction/prep toy, or just something child life related. I entered a giveaway that I won! No joke, I was so excited about this, I never win anything!

I am excited to begin my collection of these toys and books so that when I do become a CCLS I will be able to use them! I also plan on playing with them so I can become more familiar with them and how they can help.

Be sure to check out their blogs and follow them on Instagram!

Child Life Mommy

Dose of Play

Adventures in Child Life also check out her Etsy shop

Kid Cope Specialists

 

 

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From Adventures in Child Life!

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It’s time for your check up from Child Life Mommy and Understanding Myself from Kid Cope Specialists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some fun distraction toys from Dose of Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Practicums….

 

Practicum Envelopes

 

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are two hospitals in the area that accept practicum students. UCSF Oakland and UCSF San Francisco. I applied to UCSF Oakland for a practicum at the beginning of Feb. I was so excited about doing this, but that excitement was short lived. I got an email from the practicum coordinator saying that they only accept students who are affiliated with a university due to liability reasons. I was SO BUMMED. Of course I understood the reasoning behind this, but I was still frusterated. I gave myself the rest of the day to be bummed but then had to move on.

The next day I decided I really wanted a practicum and I was just going to apply everywhere. So I found hospitals who accept unaffiliated students in a few states over. I really didn’t want to have to move for a practicum, but I have come to terms that if I want a practicum (and I do) then I am going to have to move. Chances are it will only be for about 3 months…this is doable.

I have applied to Tucson Medical Center so far, and plan to also apply to Rady’s Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Children’s, UC Davis, and Randall Children’s in Oregon. Honestly, I chose places that I knew people who live in the area and places I have been wanting to visit.

My 3 big pieces of advice to you regarding practicums:

  • If you are not currently enrolled in a university make sure the hospitals you are applying to accept unaffiliated students. Call/email the practicum coordinator, introduce yourself first and last name, and ask a few questions.
  • They all have different application deadlines and requirements, be organized. I have a calendar specifically for application deadlines. I also have each envelope made out with a post it on it with the due date.
  • If you can get one, take it! The field is getting more and more competitive and a practicum will only help! I hope I get one!
  • Some feedback I have received regarding my resume is that I need to build it a bit more. I have volunteered at hospitals with the Child Life department for the past 4 years, but I think I need to choose more organizations. So I am going to look into:
    • Make A Wish
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • Local companies that do animal assisted therapy
    • Oncology/bereavement Summer Camps (for patients as well as families/siblings)

Good Luck!

March is Child Life Month!

Wow! We are 2 days into March and so far it has been great.

First, March is Child Life Month, so Happy Child Life Month!

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Second…drum roll please…I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL woo hoo!! Honestly did not think this would happen. I applied to one school, one. I do not recommend this at all. So please don’t do it! 🙂

As of Fall 2018 I will be attending the University of Minnesota through an online platform, getting my masters degree in Child and Adolescent Development and Child Life. Essentially it is a dual masters program. This will be the first time they are admitting anyone to this program.

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I was really on the fence about accepting this offer or not, but I’ve decided to just do it. I’ve wanted to pursue Child Life for the past 7 years, and I still do, so I need to focus on that. As of Fall 2018, I will officially be a Golden Gopher. Kinda a weird mascot, but I’ll go with it!

 

My class through UCSB extension – Intro to Child Life- will be coming to a close at the end of this month. It has been an awesome introductory class. I have really enjoyed the instructor as well as collaborating and hearing my peers ideas and thoughts. I highly recommend taking this course to test out the field a bit.

p.s. I got the super cute pin from Adventures In Child Life! Check out her etsy shop!

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A little background on me

My journey began about 5 years ago in 2012 when a friend of mine was in school to become a Nurse Practitioner. She had to complete rounds in Child Life and mentioned it to me as something she believed I would be interested in. At first, I brushed it off…working with sick kids? That seemed terrifying and sad. At this point I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I know I wanted to work with kids, and I knew I wanted to be in a medical setting, but I did not want to be a doctor or NP. I played with the idea of entering the field of psychology, social work, teaching, opening my own in home daycare…so many thought of what I could do!

I eventually came back to the idea of Child Life and decided to start volunteering with my local children hospital. I began volunteering there in Feb 2013 trying out the different departments. I began with Art Cart in the Cancer Center where I worked with a child life specialist and set up art activities for the kids and their families in the waiting room. After that, I decided I wanted to try something else and was placed in the waiting room in the outpatient surgery unit. I was really only there for about a month. I had the hardest time navigating that unit. Lastly, I came across the Preschool Playroom, and that is where I would stay for the next few years.

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I loved working in the playroom. It was a playroom specifically for ages 0-3. At first I was volunteering directly with a Certified Child Life Specialist, and I loved her! After talking to her and picking her brain about what a Child Life Specialist does, I realized pursuing a career as a Child Life Specialist was exactly what I wanted to do and I was exactly where I needed to be in order to do that.

The hospital ended up changing things around, and instead of CCLS’s running the playrooms they hired Playroom Coordinators. This was a bummer for me because I really wanted to work alongside a CCLS. I think I went through a total of 3 or 4 playroom coordinators before one of them stuck. I ended up taking a break from volunteering because school became a bit hectic. I went back to volunteering about 6 months later and the woman who was my co volunteer 6 months prior ended up being hired as a Playroom Coordinator. I thought this was awesome! I was so excited because I thought to myself, “This could be my next step! I can get a job as a playroom coordinator”. However, that wasn’t in the cards for me.

After I applied for a position, no one was giving me a call back regarding my application and I became frustrated. Eventually my supervisor put in a good word for me and I got an interview. The interview didn’t go great, it was very awkward and really felt like they were doing it to check me off their list. I decided to move on from the idea of getting a job at this hospital. I hoped they would have more invested in me, having been a loyal volunteer for 4 years. I wasn’t getting the help or guidance in the Child Life field, so I decided to move on, which turns out was for the best!

I have been working for a sports medicine office for about 5 1/2 years as an assistant and I decided it was time to move on from there too – needless to say 2017 has been filled with a ton of changes.

I found an awesome job working with a small company as a behavior specialist. It is new, it is hard, and I wouldn’t call it my dream job, but it is a step in the right direction and I am learning so much! I am very excited to begin this new journey.