Veteran Child Life Specialist Really Understands HIV/AIDS

Continuing Our Celebration of Child Life Month

Welcome Rob Quinn, a veteran in the child life filed and blogger at OpenlyPOZ, bringing awareness and education to the HIV/AIDS community.

CLM 2014

2014 marks my 28th anniversary in the child life profession as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). We as child life professionals empower children and families to master challenging events related to health care. My career has included clinical, administrative, and academic experience in Boston, Florida, and New York City. I have held positions on both the Child Life Council and Child Life of Greater New York (CLGNY) Board and committees. In 2002, I received a Lifetime Achievement Award from CLGNY.

Some on my most memorable and rewarding experience were working with the children, youth and adolescents and their families receiving HIV-related services through the Program for Children and Families at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. It was during the early 1990s when times were very different in HIV/AIDS—pediatric and adult. Children and families experienced frequent and often lengthy hospitalizations, at times requiring intensive and critical care. Issues of bereavement were not uncommon. Family support could be minimal at times, and as a child life specialist, I  developed intense trusted support bonds with many children. Going to the hospital was a reality check every day. I never referred to “going to the hospital” as work because once I found my life’s purpose, it was in no way “work.”

Hospitalized children are so very different from adults in the same situation, in the sense that one of the child’s primary concerns was figuring out how to play while accommodating the IV’s and other medical equipment in their hospital world. I often referred to IV poles to children as “Ivy” your friend, reminding them that the two of you have to always be together while you are in the  hospital. It was truly an honor and privilege that many children and families welcomed me into their world and all that changed when I literally crossed over into the parallel universe of their life as a patient now living with HIV/AIDS.

To learn more about Rob Quinn check out, OpenlyPOZ.com or on Twitter at @OpenlyPOZ

If you have a story that you would like to share about working with a child life specialist, discovering the field or how you are celebrating it this month, please click here

Diane’s “Adventures in Child Life”

The Celebration of Child Life Month continues….

Here is a guest blog post from Diane a child life specialist and blogger at Adventures In Child Life

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Hello! My adventure in child life began my junior year in college when my child development professor briefly mentioned the career in one of his lectures. I took note of it and googled it as soon as I got home. As I was reading the Child Life Council’s webpage I remember thinking, this is it! This is what I want to be when I grow up. I graduated with my bachelors degree for Child Development and Spanish in the Spring of 2012.

After moving back home, I began volunteering at a local children’s hospital with the child life department while also taking “Intro to child life” online taught by a child life specialist. In January 2013 I began my practicum where I really got a taste for the field and loved it more and more every day.

In September 2013, I started my internship where I learned all of the ins and outs about Child Life. I will always have a soft spot for the hospital. I completed my internship and I grew so much professionally and emotionally during my time there.

Three weeks before completing my internship, my supervisor and I had finished revising my new and improved Child Life Resume. On Saturday night (because, as you all may know, during a child life internship you are so exhausted that weekends become sleep in and stay in bed all day). I decided to apply to a child life job just for fun and to see how the application process went. The following week I got a call back from that hospital for an interview! Needless to say, the last two weeks of my internship were the two busiest weeks of my life. I was not only putting the finishing touches on assignments I had to turn in, two case studies to write, and managing my own unit, I was also preparing for a Child Life job interview!

The Monday after my internship had finished, I was offered a child life job! I am now a child life specialist working in a pediatric emergency room. I couldn’t be any happier!

I am now currently studying for the certification exam which I am taking at the end of March (I hope to get some good vibes being that I’m taking my exam during Child Life month!). I am also registered to go to conference this year which I am ecstatic about!

Go, Child Life, Go!

To learn more about Diane, you can follow her blog at Adventures in Child Life

If you have a story that you would like to share about working with a child life specialist, finding the field or how your program is celebrating, please click here