Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rain, rain, I welcome you...

It seems like whenever rain is in the forecast, I always heat someone whine.  Why?  A few raindrops never hurt anyone.  Why don't people enjoy rain and just make the best of it?

As a kid I always enjoyed putting on my "rain gear" so I wouldn't get wet while waiting for the bus.  In elementary school, I had a large umbrella that resembled a school bus!  It was bright yellow all around and had "windows" like a school bus on the front.  I loved rain then just as much as I love it now.


During my college years at Simmons I always enjoyed seeing the inevitable parade of rain boots marching around the buildings.  I have a pair of red boots with white polka dots and I secretly can't wait for them to wear out so I can buy new ones.  Apart from sneakers and slippers, rain boots are the only pair of shoes (or boots) I can wear comfortably.  

I actually enjoy rainy days, especially when lightening is involved!  For me, rainy days are the same as snow days, just a different season. Rainy days help break things up.  Don't get me wrong, I love sunny and warm days, but after awhile some variety is in order.

Earlier today just before leaving for an appointment, I paused at the door unsure if I should bring a rain jacket or not.  I decided against it, after all it's just water.  If my hair gets wet, so what there are far worse things to things to worry about apart from geting wet.

After all...


So next time it rains, I encourage you to just relax a bit and dance!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Child Life Certification Process

Child Life Council Logo
Many weeks ago (sorry!), I conducted a survey about Child Life.  The question was, What do you know about Child Life and if you know what it is, what do you want to learn?  There were 9 options.  Of the 11 votes total, most responded to, I've heard the term, but know nothing more.  The second most popular response was tied between, I know what it is and have met a few, and I know it has something to do with children, but know nothing more.  The third most popular answer was, how does someone become a CCLS?    

For simplicity, this post will only focus on the path to becoming certified.  First of all, CCLS stands for Certified Child Life Specialist.  The word certified is important because without that, anyone could say they were a Child Life Specialist.  The Child Life Council is the governing body of the profession.  

The path to becoming certified varies person to person.  Some can do it in 4 years, others take longer.

My Alma Matter, Simmons College
The very first step is a Bachelors degree.  This can be in anything from Physics to Child Development.  My BA is in Society & Health.

The next step is 10 college-level courses in Child Life or related department.  My 10 courses were Nature of Abnormal Behavior, Health Psychology, International Health, Perception, Social and Emotional Development, Society & Health, Biomedical Ethics, Developmental Psychology, Intro to Social Research, Orientation to the Health Profession and Sociology of Health.  I took these during my college years.

For those wishing to become certified after Fall 2013, a new requirement will take effect.  This new requirement is a course taught by a CCLS and not just any course, but one that meets 6 areas of study which include Child Life Documents, Scope of Practice, Impact of Illness, Injury and Healthcare on Patients and Families, Family-Centered Care, Therapeutic Play and Preparation.  I just finished my couse, but it's only official after I get my grade, then transcript then the form filled out by the instructor.

Clinical Experience is a major part of gaining certification and is much harder for some than others.  480 hours is the minimum and unfortunately volunteer hours do not count.  Most of the time, these hours are obtained through an internship and they are very competitive.  Many hospitals receive hundreds of applications, but only accept 1 to 3 students per cycle, that's 3 to 9 per year!!  Also, some hospitals only take intern students from certain colleges, others only take students who are currently in college.  This makes it very hard for someone who has 365 volunteer hours, graduated with two majors and two minors nearly three years ago.          

I was hoping to complete my Child Life internship during my college years as many do, but the dates didn't line up and at the time, none of the hospitals with Pediatrics in Boston were taking students not enrolled at a specific college, ironically the one located right across the street from my own.  Last year I applied to 3 hospitals on average each cycle.  I got an interview about half the time, but unfortunately, never made it to the next step after the interview.  I was very, very close to getting an offer last year, but then one of the CCLSs who would be supervising me had to go on medical leave.  For me, Child Life is that one thing I am head over heals for but when I get close to the next step something happens.  Even with my Child Life course, only 5/6 areas of study were covered originally, but I emailed the professor and I'll have all 6 fulfilled after one last assignment.

Having graduated with random major and minors that aren't focused on children like Child Development or Family Studies does make breaking into the world of Child Life more difficult, but it does not make it impossible.

According to the Child Life Council, there are only 20 schools in the US and Canada that offer an undergraduate degree in Child Life specifically.  Fewer offer both ungrad and graduate degrees, and even fewer offer only a graduate degree.

Once all of these requirements are met, there is an exam to take and pass.  Only when you pass can you call yourself a Certified Child Life Specialist.  There are 12 individual books to read and study from before the exam.  Thankfully, my Child Life course introduced me to two and I've acquired three others, but haven't read them yet.

As far my plans go, I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet as far as completing the required internship hours.  I may apply to practicums (step below an internship, but not necessarily required for one) and then internships, or apply to both at the same time, maybe get another Bachelor's or my Master's in Child Life depending on if the college next to my Alma Matter allows that.

I think that covers everything.  If you have any questions, just leave me a comment below!

Thanks for reading!
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