Support for Children Receiving Medical Care
The Child Life Department is an essential part of Children's Hospital's
focus on family-centered care. Child Life staff members are trained and
dedicated specifically to one crucial part of a child's daily life:
play. Our Child Life Specialists ease anxiety through the power of play
in a constructive, healing and educating manner. We currently have 15
staff members that serve as cheerleaders, confidantes and advocates to
patients who may be frightened by or unfamiliar with the hospital setting.
Beloved by patients, the Child Life Specialists at Children's Hospital
believe in the power of play as a method of healing, growing and developing.
How it Works
Child Life is supported by Spirit of Children all year long - but especially
The field of Child Life began from the understanding that hospitalization
can have a long-term negative impact on normal growth and development
because of the stress it puts on children and their families. By assessing
a child through play, a Child Life Specialist can gain insight into ways
to help the child cope with the hospital experience. Children who receive
a new diagnosis of a long-term illness are provided with as much additional
attention as possible. Clinical nurse specialists (educators) provide
technical information, and then the Child Life Specialist follows up with
hands-on activities that reinforce the child's learning.
Child Life Internships
East Tennessee Children's Hospital offers a Child Life internship program,
where college students can work beside child life specialists in the hospital
setting. If you would like information about our internship, including
requirements, or if you would like to apply for an internship at Children's
Hospital, please download and complete our
Child Life internship application form. The Child Life internship position at Children's Hospital is unpaid.
Facts About Child Life at Children's Hospital
Started in 1978, the Child Life program was the first program of its kind
in Tennessee and predates the Child Life Council, which is the governing
body of the field. Since then, the department has grown to cover all inpatient
units, the Emergency Department, outpatient clinics, outpatient surgery
and the Radiology Department.
Here are some more interesting facts about Child Life at Children's Hospital:
- Child Life staff at Children's Hospital are available from 8 a.m. to
11 p.m. seven days a week, even on holidays.
- Child Life staff and students offer a program to the kindergarten classes
in Knox County Schools. The program, called "Hello Hospital,"
provides hands-on play with medical equipment and a fun video explaining
a visit to Children's Hospital. The goal is to reduce fears and anxiety
related to a hospital visit.
- The Child Life staff helps patients and families celebrate holidays, birthdays
and other family events that occur during the child's hospitalization.
Donations from the community allow Child Life staff members to provide
children with gifts on these occasions.