As a child life specialist, when you’re called to a patient’s room, you never know what awaits on the other side of the door. In some cases, your services are needed to help calm the nerves of a toddler before she receives a vaccine. In other cases, you may walk in to find a hysterical child and his equally terrified parents. Sometimes you can bring a situation under control in a matter of minutes, but some take much, much longer.
Even though the children you serve may consider you a superhero, you can’t handle it all alone. To help you become even more successful in your role, review this list of the top things child life specialists should ask for:
Collaboration with Staff
Hospitals are busy places, and you have no way to predict what your shift holds. However, to work most effectively, you need to properly collaborate with other staff members. From physicians to nurses, mental health professionals, social workers and other members of the team, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Although other professionals may be well aware of what your role entails, they may not fully understand your processes. Take time to educate them, and be open to suggestions for improvement. By fostering better communication internally, you can ensure you’ll have better support in your efforts.
Cooperation from Families
Whether a child is visiting the hospital due to a minor playground injury or a chronic illness, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter stress and anxiety from the child as well as his or her parents. Families are protective by nature and, even though they know you’re there to help, they may become hostile or upset.
In order to effectively calm an upset patient, you need full cooperation from all family members. Like when working with other staff members, the best way to achieve cooperation from parents and guardians is through education. In addition to explaining what you’re going to do, back up your methods by mentioning research and prior experience.
Like adults, children fear the unknown. Sometimes all it takes to help a child feel better is normalization of a procedure, or the hospital experience in general. Ask for actual medical instruments you can carry with you, such as a stethoscope, blood pressure meter and thin beam flashlight. By allowing a child to hold and use these items, she’ll feel more comfortable when a doctor or nurse uses them in an exam.
In addition to the tools you need, your role as a child life specialist means you can advocate for products for the nursing staff use, as well. For example, you could ask for the hospital to keep Pain Ease Single Patient packages in each room. This way, you can show the product to the child, explain how it works and have a nurse or nurse tech demonstrate.
The bottom line is, don’t be afraid to ask for the support and resources you need to do your best. By collaborating with staff, achieving cooperation from families and ensuring your hospital offers the most effective resources, you can greatly improve the experience for the children you serve.
Ready to boost patient satisfaction? Calm young patient’s nerves by asking your hospital to use our line of patient comfort solutions.