More Educational Opportunities in Child Life
We are a program that is dedicated to developing creative and innovative approaches in supporting and advocating for children and families in an effort to minimize the psychological trauma of life threatening illnesses. Therapeutic play, education, preparation, and legacy building are instrumental in our daily goals to promote normal development, self expression, peer interaction, family centered care, a sense of mastery, and developed coping.
Interns are seen as helping us to fulfill this mission side by side while caring for our St. Jude patients. Our philosophy continues as job entry specialists leave our program and begin their own careers continuing to support children as experienced, knowledgeable, and confident professionals.
Child life was instituted at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in 1994 resulting from the research seen widely in the medical community of the benefits of children’s coping with stressful experiences through play. In 1998 developing a child life program became an institutional objective which included national managerial recruitment. Today, child life at St Jude Children's Research Hospital is an integral part of the medical team and is visible in every clinical arena from patient care to institutional program development. We currently have 18 full time certified child life specialists and two music therapists.
Our Internship Experience
We believe strongly in balancing both “hands on” child life experience coupled with essential educational components. Each intern will have two long rotations 6-7 weeks in an inpatient and outpatient setting enduring 16 weeks (640 hours). The internship is neither paid nor does it require payment beyond the intern’s own living expenses. Hours are generally Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm with a few opportunities for nights and weekends. St. Jude has had a child life internship program (in its current form) since 2008 and was accredited by the ACLP in 2017.
Internship is 640 hours (16 weeks) of clinical experience.
- 1 Week: Orientation
- 6 Weeks: Rotation One
- 3 Weeks: Procedure Rotation
- 6 Weeks: Rotation Two
Education Seminar Samples
There are two-five weekly education seminars presented by staff for interns as well as weekly discussion/ wrap up meetings for peer support development. Seminars are given throughout the internship on over 45 subjects from the child life perspective. Here are some sample seminar topics:
Child developmental theory and impact of hospitalization
Child Life assessment
Implementing a play group
Death and Dying
- Senior in college or completed bachelor’s or master’s degree
- Applicants with high academic achievement will have priority
- Child Life
- Child Development
- Human Growth and Development
- Child Psychology
- Other Related Fields
Confirmation of classes taken are approved by the Child Life Council through the online Eligibility Assessment. Eligibility includes approval of a child life course taught by a child life specialist.
- Work or volunteer experience with well infants, children, and/or teens (100 hours)
- Child life practicum (100 hours) supervised by a child life specialist in a hospital setting
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an intern to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the intern is regularly required to stand; walk; sit; kneel, use hands to finger, handle, or feel; and talk or hear. The intern must be able to travel frequently between two hospital buildings as well as outpatient clinics and inpatient units throughout them. The intern will accompany patients to diagnostic imaging (MRI, ultrasound, CT etc), procedures, and surgeries and need to provide support throughout the duration of them. Interns must be able to maintain supervision and lead an activity for up to twenty patients while ensuring their safety at all times. The interns must frequently lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently exposed to infectious agents, body fluids, secretions, blood products, and cytotoxic agents. Occasional exposure to radiation and waste anesthetic gases. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. Ability to work in covert stressful conditions.
Due to COVID 19 campus restrictions, internship start dates have been postponed and we will therefore not be accepting applications in September 2020. Thank you for your understanding.
Only completed entries will be reviewed. To apply, please submit all of the following items:
- Child Life Council Intern Application form
- Copy of transcripts from all attended institutions (student copy acceptable)
- Minimum GPA of 3.5 overall and 3.5 in major
- Two Child Life Internship Candidate Common Recommendation Forms (located in the ACLP common application) (one from a professor, one from child life practicum supervisor). Exception will be made if you have graduated from college for 5+ years ago; in which case an additional form from a child life practicum supervisor or child life specialist volunteer supervisor will suffice. Additional letters of recommendation from these two references are not required but will be accepted if the reference chooses to include it. If you are requesting a recommendation form from an institution which is unable to legally provide one, including your final practicum evaluation could replace this requirement.
- A completed child life practicum experience in a hospital setting supervised by a child life specialist (100 hours at minimum by application deadline). We do not accept practicums in progress, at this time, unless the minimum 100 hours have been completed by application deadline.
- Verification of Child Life Practicum Hours (either through the ACLP form included in the common application packet or on institutional letterhead)
- Experience with well infants, children, and/or teens (work or volunteer accepted) 100 hours which should be referenced in your application and resume. The ACLP’s Verification of Related Experience Hours form is not required.
- Resume and cover letter
- Eligibility Assessment: Applicants, please print the screen displaying all completed and approved course work. This will indicate that the applicant has the ten ACLP-approved collegiate courses required for certification. Due to the increase of specific courses required by the ACLP, St. Jude will now accept an ACLP “course in-progress” form completed by a professor.