Christmas in August

It is Friday, and my first work week as a child life specialist in training has been a success! I have learned so much in just five days and I am beyond excited to think about a whole new week in the horizon.

While this week focused primarily on formal education on a variety of topics, next week will be consistent, hands on child life work with patients in the wards. The topics I’ve had the pleasure of gaining greater understanding in this week have been patient prioritization, introducing child life to the NICU, establishing a formal Kenyan child life internship program, and discussing relationships and sexuality with patients with brain injuries. Dispersed between all Β this learning was time spent in various playrooms. This week I had the chance to explore the oncology and general paediatrics play rooms in addition to spending some quality time with some teen patients.

In the coming week I will have the opportunity to not only observe, but demonstrate actual medical play, procedural preparation, and diagnosis teaching with patients. This is the component of child life that I have been so excited and anxious to participate in. The education aspect combined with family-centred care is one of the many things that makes the field of child life so unique, and I can’t wait to get started in that area directly.

Today was an awesome end to an awesome week. Today we finally got to go through all of the bags of donated toys Morgan so carefully packed and trudged all the way to Africa. We spent the day going through each and every toy with the child life team and it was a blast. I not only got to try out some pretty sweet new toys, but through listening and observing, I learned that there are so many more things that can be done with a toy that meets the eye – and children often discover these “hidden” uses before we do! From slinky-s, to Fruitominoes, from Doc McStuffinsΒ to wind-up caterpillars and glitter wands, we played with and explored each and every item. Check out the photos below of the child life health workers playing with and learning about all the new gadgets, and check out the smiles on these lucky kids’ faces who happened to be around when all the toy-opening was unfolding!

There are so many lessons and important take-aways from this week that I know will benefit me in my work. I am so glad that I got to learn so much more this week before really diving n to the hands on experience of formally preparing a child for a procedure, or explaining a diagnosis. However after this week I do feel a little more confident in my skills, and I am excited to continue to enhance them and grow as a child life specialist and a person.

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