Child Life Practicum Program

Child Life Practicum Program

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital has 97 pediatric patient beds, including general pediatrics, hematology/oncology, progressive care and pediatric intensive care. Child Life Specialists also provide coverage to other areas of the hospital including same day surgery, the pediatric emergency room (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) and one of six nationwide St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital satellite clinics.


The Child Life Department is a clinically based program which focuses on meeting the needs of hospitalized children and families through education and preparation for medical procedures, emotional support, therapeutic play and developmentally-appropriate activities. 


The department is staffed by eight certified Child Life Specialists who are each assigned a specific patient population. Care plans and pathways for child life services are utilized for patient populations, such as, sickle cell disease, cancer, asthma, and diabetes.


Theory-based planning, intervention, and documentation are heavily valued and relied upon.  The Child Life staff functions as an integral part of the healthcare team, and advocates that healthcare systems and practices are most effective when they are planned, coordinated, delivered, and evaluated through meaningful collaboration among families and professionals across all disciplines.


A Child Life Practicum provides students who are majoring in Child Life, Family Studies, Child Development, or a related field the opportunity to work with hospitalized children under the supervision of a certified Child Life Specialist.  Practicum students will have the opportunity to observe the Child Life Specialist facilitate pre-procedural preparation, procedural support and distraction, and medical/therapeutic play.  Practicum students will also have the opportunity to participate in playroom programming and provide bedside play.


Practicum Goals/Objectives:

  • Become familiar with the Child Life profession and Child Life services offered on a general pediatric unit.
  • Recognize and understand children’s and adolescent’s reactions to stress, illness, and hospitalization, based on developmental theories.
  • Develop communication skills with children and families in the healthcare setting.
  • Gain knowledge of Medical Terminology, diagnoses, and procedures.
  • Recognize the value of play and psychosocially supportive interventions.
  • Learn and practice intervention techniques with hospitalized children.
  • Plan and facilitate playroom activities and bedside activities.

Learn more about the selection process or apply for a Child Life Practicum.