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Child Life Practicum

The Practicum is an introductory hospital/Child Life experience. It provides students the opportunity to gain insight and exposure to the child life profession. Practicums also help students understand the special and unique needs of hospitalized children and their families through play opportunities. At Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Practicum students are assigned to inpatient and outpatient settings in which to complete their requirements. Students are closely supervised by our staff of certified Child Life Specialists. Feedback and evaluation are provided throughout the Practicum to help students gain skills and increase comfort levels.

Application Requirements

  • Students applying for our Practicum should be exploring a career in Child Life and be working toward a degree in Child Life, child development, human development or other closely related fields. 
  • We require that students have completed a minimum of two supervised experiences with healthy children in a non-health care setting (i.e., preschool lab, infant lab, volunteer experience, employment, etc.) 
  • Students also need to have a strong academic background in human growth and development. GPA of 3.0 in core classes.

Frequently Asked Questions
 

Couldn't I just volunteer in a hospital?

Volunteering in a hospital is an excellent way to see if you would like the work environment and gain exposure to hospital routines. Volunteering, however, does not count as a Child Life Practicum. Practicums are more structured, provide direct supervision by Child Life staff, and have a set of requirements to be completed. Some Child Life Internships require that students have completed a Practicum.

When do you offer practicums?

Spring, Summer and Fall.

How long does it take to complete a Practicum?

Our Practicum is a semester long course in which students complete a minimum of 150 hours in the hospital. The student's schedule is set before the Practicum begins. Students typically complete 12-14 hours a week for approximately 12 weeks. When setting up a student's schedule, we require that each block of time be at least three hours long to insure a quality experience.

For example, a schedule may look like this:

  • Monday 10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Wednesday 10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Friday 10:00am - 2:00pm

* Attendance is extremely important to ensure the 150 hours is completed.

What are the Practicum requirements for the semester?

Students will be expected to complete the following requirements. Due dates will be set at the beginning of the semester:

  • Daily journal entries
  • Article abstracts
  • Formal observations
  • Plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities
  • Observe evening pre-surgical programs
  • Observe and participate in an evening children's support group
  • Complete self evaluations and program evaluations
  • Medical procedure observations and reactions
  • Other requirements as assigned
Do I have to know a lot about childhood illnesses and diseases?

The Practicum is an introductory course, which focuses on the child's emotional reaction to hospitalization and the medical experience. The foundation of play in a healthcare setting will be explored.

Who will be supervising me?

You will be under the direct supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist during each rotation. At no time will students be working completely independent of a Child Life Specialist. Students do not fill in for staff members' vacations, sick days, etc.

What is the role of the Clinical Coordinator?

You will be assigned a Certified Child Life Specialist who will be responsible for setting up your schedule, assigning requirement due dates, facilitating the orientation and overseeing all Practicum details. This person will meet with you to help insure that requirements are being met and that you are progressing in a satisfactory manner. The Coordinator will provide you with written and verbal feedback on assignments and experiences.

What are the Practicum Student's responsibilities during the semester?
  • To follow the department and hospital policies and procedures.
  • To complete all requirements within the time frame assigned.
  • Follow guidelines and expectations set up by the supervisory specialist in each area you are assigned.

Application Due Dates

Applications must be submitted to the address at the bottom of the page and must be received according to the following schedule.

Practicum Offer and Acceptance Dates

Practicum Session

Application Deadlines

Initial Offer Dates

Acceptance Dates

Spring

September 5th

2nd Tuesday of October

Wednesday

Summer

January 5th

2nd Tuesday of February

Wednesday

Fall

May 5th

2nd Tuesday of June

Wednesday

*Applicant must accept or decline offer within 24 hours of notification

A committee of Child Life Specialists will review all applications and will select which applicants to interview. Interviews may be conducted in person or over the telephone. Students will then be notified in writing whether or not they have been accepted. If the Practicum is being completed for college credit, the student must register for the appropriate field work course through their college/university. 

Child Life Practicum Application Download. Requires Microsoft Word. 

For more information on the Child Life Practicum, please contact:

Laurie Lycan, CCLS
(402) 955-5305
Email Laurie

Applications may be mailed to:

Laurie Lycan
Children's Hospital & Medical Center
Family Resources
8200 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE 68114

We reserve the right to update this application.
© Children's Hospital & Medical Center | In Affiliation with University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine