The Department of Child and Family Studies is very excited to announce that two of our Community Outreach students, Maggie Carroll and Clara Henley, have been placed at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for their practicums this summer!
This practicum experience is great experience for students that plan to apply for a Child Life Specialist Internship upon graduation.
East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Inpatient Child Life Specialist is Katelin Jones, a UTK CFS graduate! As a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS), it is Katelin’s job to help reduce the effects of stress and trauma on patients by normalizing the hospital setting through play. The hospital does this mostly by providing developmentally appropriate procedural preparation (showing pictures/medical equipment beforehand), distraction (looking at an “I Spy” book during an IV, etc.), and patient guidance (blowing bubbles to assist with deep breathing, providing charts/incentives for eating/drinking, etc.).
Our two practicum students’ main focus will be play. They will spend a lot of time in playrooms and at the bedside playing with patients and siblings, but also plan weekly activities for them and, of course, provide them with toys, crafts, and games during their stay. They will get to observe some procedures with the CCLS, and also have weekly discussions about prominent topics in the field.
Most practicum students use this opportunity to decide if this is the career they want, but some students come in already knowing this is the path they want to take. Katelin Jones set up this practicum in a way that is very hands on for them, but also provides them learning opportunities to build rapport, get experience in a hospital setting, and take the first step in really understanding what they do and why it’s beneficial for patients.
UT students in the Fall/Spring semesters also visit elementary schools in Knox County and talk to kindergarten classes about what happens when they come to the hospital, germs/hand washing, and let them do fun activities. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital loves having UT students and Katelin Jones said that it is truly a mutually beneficial relationship! “They are always so helpful to us on the units and we are often able to mentor them as they plan for their futures. Once they leave, they are usually applying for internships and after completing an internship is when they are eligible to sit for the certification exam and get a job.”