5 Benefits of Working in a Children’s Hospital

Guest Blogger, Adela Ellis

As a healthcare provider, you have a lot of opportunities in terms of where to work. You could work at a hospital, a long-term care facility, a rehab center, a private practice … the list goes on and on. For many people, however, working in a children’s hospital is the most appealing option. Whether you are a doctor, a nurse, or any other type of healthcare worker, working in a children’s hospital means that you will be spending your days caring for sick and injured children. You’ll work with kids who are suffering from terminal illnesses and life-threatening injuries as well as those who are visiting for routine screenings, less significant illnesses, and injuries.

The work is physically and emotionally draining, but it is also incredibly rewarding. You can get to make a real impact on the lives of kids and their families, and that is just one of the perks. If you want to dedicate your career to working with kids, keep reading to discover a few of the many benefits of working in a children’s hospital.

Working with Kids and Improving Their Health

Most people who choose to work in children’s hospitals do so because they want to help kids. As an employee in one of these facilities, you will get to work closely with children on a daily basis. You’ll be there during one of the scariest times in their young lives, and you’ll have the opportunity to reassure them and provide some much-needed comfort.

As a children’s hospital employee, you’ll also play a major role in improving kids’ health. While there are always, sadly, terminal cases in which little can be done, there are also plenty of situations in which your care and recommendations can get a second chance at life. Providing treatment to help a sick or injured child recover is incredibly rewarding.

Developing a Sense of Pride

As a healthcare provider, you should have a sense of pride every day when you go to work. When you work in a children’s hospital, though, that sense of pride tends to be even greater. You get to spend your days making a real difference in peoples’ lives. You are there for kids and their parents during some of the most difficult times of their lives, and you could be instrumental in helping ensure that a seriously ill or injured child has the opportunity of having a future.

Wearing Fun Scrubs

On a slightly less serious note, working in a children’s hospital often means that you are able to wear fun scrubs. When you work with adults, there is more likely to be a dress code that only allows you to wear scrubs in a certain color or style. When you’re working with kids, though, you tend to have a lot more freedom.

Being in the hospital is a scary experience for a child. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers can be quite frightening. By wearing fun scrubs, however, you can make yourself a lot less intimidating to your young patients. Something like a colorful butterfly scrub top will make you seem more approachable, and it will give something for little eyes to focus on rather than a needle or another scary medical instrument or device.

Scrubs emblazoned with popular children’s characters are great choices, too, especially if you spend most of your time working with toddlers or young children. Figure out which characters your kids and their classmates love most and look for scrubs featuring them. If you don’t have kids of your own, check out this page for some character inspiration!

Plenty of Opportunities for Growth

Children’s hospitals are massive facilities with all sorts of different job opportunities. Even if you start out as, say, a nurse’s aide, you will have the opportunity to continue learning and working your way up toward higher positions. Many facilities will even help you pay for your education if you are an employee. They can also work with you when you need to do an internship or participate in another form of on-the-job training.

If you are just starting out in your healthcare career, working in a children’s hospital means that you can explore many different departments. You may find that you love working with infants, but treating older kids isn’t something that you are quite as passionate about. Or you may find that you love the fast-paced emergency department but can’t handle working in pediatric oncology. As an employee at a children’s hospital, you’ll likely have a chance to work in different departments and move to different areas if you find that one isn’t “right” for you.

Job Stability

As much as everyone would love it if there was no need for children’s hospitals, that simply isn’t the case. There will always be sick and injured kids who are in need of medical attention. For this reason, there will always be a need for children’s hospitals and the people who work in them. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they are vital in the cities in which they are located. If you work at a children’s hospital, the odds of it simply closing are extremely low. Chances are, you will have a job for as long as you want to have one.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of great reasons to work in a children’s hospital. The benefits listed above are just a few of the many. If you want to work directly with kids and make a difference in the world, getting hired at a children’s hospital is a good way to achieve both goals.

Author Bio

Adela Ellis is a full-time nurse and part-time ambassador for Infinity Scrubs. Adela attended the University of Arizona and has been a pediatric nurse for the last 6 years. In her free time, she loves true-crime podcasts and cooking for friends and family.

‘Tis the Season for Giving

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It’s that time of year in thinking of others and giving back. With so many options of places to donate food, clothing and toys it can be a little overwhelming. I am here to speak up about child life and creative art programs in hospitals that are often overlooked but in need of so much. Here is a small breakdown of how you can impact a child and family who have been hospitalized during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Who to contact:

Reaching out to your local hospital and finding out if they have a child life program is the first step. If the hospital doesn’t have one than you can contact larger programs such as Starlight, Project Sunshine, or Child Life Wish list.org that work closely with child life programs.

Who can donate:

There is an endless amount of people who are willing to help. Think about creating a toy drive with family members, friends and neighbors. Your local community, restaurants, pediatric offices, schools and churches. Group organizations for adults and children such as sport teams, cub scouts and mommy and me programs.

What kind of items are needed:

Most child life programs are in need of toys, electronics and gift cards. Due to infection control, toys need to be new. Some toys will be given as gifts during the holidays and other items will be used for activities for children in the playroom at bedside or during medical procedures. Here is a list of what is typically needed:

  • Cause and Effect Toys
  • Mobiles, Crib Toys
  • Dramatic Play (dress up, kitchen toys, doctor kits)
  • Puzzles
  • Board Games
  • Music CDs (children’s, school-aged and adolescents)
  • DVDs and Video games (rated age appropriately)
  • Cars, Trucks, Trains
  • Dolls (clothes, strollers, baby items)
  • Action Figures and Animal Figurines
  • Musical Instruments
  • Books-different languages are encouraged (look and find, pop-up)
  • Blocks
  • Art Supplies (can be individualized art kits)
  • Scrapbook Materials
  • Wagons, Small Ride on Toys and Push Carts
  • Tablets, Hand Held Games and Headphones
  • Digital Cameras, CD Players and I-Pods,
  • Gift Cards (ToysRus, Target, BestBuy, I-Tunes)

There isn’t a lot of funding for child life programs; they are typically run by grants and donations. Reaching out and providing some of these much-needed items will surely help them in a tremendous way.

Happy Holidays!

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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