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Child Life Specialist Student Program

Child life specialists are integral members of our healthcare team, and work in all clinical areas of the hospital. If you're interested in pursuing child life as a profession, we offer a variety of experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. Through a practicum, you'll shadow and observe a certified child life specialist, while our internship shifts the focus from observation to you becoming independent and functioning in the role as a child life specialist.

Program Requirements

To qualify for an interview for a clinical child life student placement, you must:

  • Be currently affiliated with an established child life academic program (Independent studies do not qualify)
  • Be enrolled in a practicum or internship corresponding academic course with a syllabus during clinical experience
  • Have completed a minimum of 50 volunteer hours in a pediatric hospital setting
  • Have completed a minimum of 1 child life course taught by a certified child life specialist, per recommendation from the Association of Child Life Professionals
  • Have completed a university-affliated practicum, with a corresponding practicum academic course during the clinical experience, totaling a minimum of 100 hours under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist before interviewing for internship

Practicum

By shadowing and observing a certified child life specialist, our practicum gives you an opportunity to:

  • Develop an understanding of the effects of hospitalization on patients and families
  • Enhance awareness of patient and family needs
  • Observe preparations for procedures and accompany child life specialist throughout procedure to observe how support is given
  • Demonstrate knowledge of growth and development
  • Increase understanding of the multidisciplinary team approach within a healthcare environment

Internship

Our child life internship shifts the focus from observation to you becoming independent and functioning in the role as a child life specialist. 

As an intern, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Observe medical treatments and procedures
  • Participate in preparation for procedures and accompany patients and families during procedures
  • Provide emotional support to patients and family members
  • Attend multidisciplinary rounds
  • Implement developmentally appropriate therapeutic activities
  • Supervise volunteers
  • Document patient care in Epic
  • Develop an internship project that will benefit the needs of our patients and families
  • Communicate effectively with multidisciplinary team

Clinical Placement Deadlines

We follow the Association of Child Life Professionals' recommendations for deadlines:

Placement Application Deadline Offer Deadline Acceptance Deadline
Fall Mar. 15 1st Tuesday of May Following Wednesday
Winter/Spring Sept. 5 2nd Tuesday of October Following Wednesday
Summer Jan. 5 2nd Tuesday of February Following Wednesday

For more information, contact:

Tiffany Gray 330-543-3647 or tgray@akronchildrens.org
Krista Graham 330-543-3647 or kgraham@akronchildrens.org
Jaclyn Kickel 330-543-3241 or jkickel@akronchildrens.org

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