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Don’t let the name “child life specialist” fool you. St. Jude has specialists whose only job is to work with teens. The child life specialist’s job is to help you feel less stressed while you are going through treatment. One way they do this is by helping you to understand exactly what is happening in the hospital and why. They can also prepare you for medical procedures and tests you may need. They are there to help you to find ways to cope with hard times and available to just talk if you feel like talking. The teen child life specialists plan activities in the teen room and can introduce you to other teen patients going through experiences similar to yours.
As a teenager, you know the importance of having some independence. You also want to spend time with friends your own age. That’s exactly what the teen room is all about! The teen room was designed to give teens their own place in the hospital. You have to be 13 or older to enter this room. No parents, doctors, or nurses are allowed; the only adults who can come in are your child life specialist and volunteers.
The child life specialist plans daily activities for group time but there are also a lot of things to do on your own. The room is full of games, art supplies, a dvd player, video games, a pool table, and a juke box. There are also big events just for teens that you can attend and even help to plan, including the annual teen art show and formal dance. There are four teen rooms at St. Jude - be sure to check them out when you arrive at the hospital.