SpellBound to Dream Land—SpellBound and Endoscopy Surgeries

 

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How do you balance the load of pediatric patients that sit anxiously waiting their endoscopy surgeries? How do you calm them during their IV starts? How do you calm them as they sit in a cold, colorless operating room waiting for the anesthesiologist and the surgeon? How do you get the stress and worries of the hospital to subside? I, Ashley a child life intern help kids cope during their endoscopy surgeries. I utilizes bubbles, I-pads, Virtual Reality Goggles (the kids love these!), guided imagery and the art of conversation. Through the different distractions there might even be a laugh or two while I interact with pediatric patients of all ages.

However, there is a trick hidden within my phone that I like to utilize—SpellBound app. with the distraction cards the nurses are able to get the IV into place. The patient is distracted by the moving animal or some other creature on the screen that they don’t notice that the IV has been put into place. Spellbound is such a great distraction tool that everyone who has children should utilize. The smallest distraction could help in big ways.

If you don’t know what Spellbound is well let me just tell you. SpellBound creates applications for phones and I-pads that can be used to distract pediatric patients from any procedure. They have things that go with short procedures like a shot or IV to a lengthier procedure. Their saying is “Distract, Engage, Motivate.”

A few weeks ago, I was featured on SpellBounds blog for utilizing their products. I have left a link to my guest blog post. Also, you can get more information on their products.

https://spellboundar.com/blog/navigating-the-child-life-journey

 

Up next is my guest blog post on Child Life Cooperative’s website. Stay tuned.

 

Until next time!

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Two Months Into My Adventure!

 

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Today marks my second month being at my internship. Hard to believe I have two months under my belt! I am sure June will go by just as fast.

During these past two months, I have experienced so much and learned a great deal along the way. I have learned about IV starts, blood draws, stiches, broken bones, Asthma treatments and many other things. My favorite units/departments that I have enjoyed the most are endoscopy/ same day surgeries and Behavioral Health (I bet you didn’t see the last one coming, lol). Each of these areas has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Not only have I grown in my development in child life, but also in my own life.

In my last post, I talk about the lives you change and how you sometimes never know that you have. On more than one occasion, I have been told by parents and patients that I was a blessing and that I am going to be great at what I do. Those families have no idea how much those compliments to me. I could have known them for five minutes or for a couple of days and I receive compliments like that on a regular basis. You just never know when you make a person’s day. While you may be having a rough day, you may be making someone else’s.

During one of my endoscopy days, I encountered a 13-year-old male. While walking by the prep room (I had just come from the surgical suite with another patient) I hear the nurses talk about starting an IV on this new patient. As they head out of the room, I B-line it into the room. Introducing myself, I tell the parent and the patient what my role is at the hospital. Telling the patient I have VR goggles, I ask him if he would like to try them. His eyes get wide and he nodes his head yes. After getting the goggles into place and he begins playing, the mom looks at me and mouths “He has bad needle phobia.” As he was playing, all he said was “Ow” when the IV went in. The mom gave me a high five and the nurses looked at me with smiles on their faces. It is amazing the smallest of things that can make the biggest impact.

As the patient was being prepped in the surgical suite, the surgeon came into the room and mentioned how great child life was. The mom agreed and thought I was a God sent. The mom thought someone had contacted me, because she had mentioned that her son had bad anxiety with needles. As she was saying that, I guess I showed up. Talk about being at the right place at the right time.

After the patient was asleep, I went out into the waiting area to locate mom. Normally when I finish up with a patient, I always go into the waiting room and inform the parents how their child did going off to sleep. Anyways, heading out to the waiting area, I saw mom sitting there and we started talking. She told me I was going to do amazing things with my job and that I was going to be one of the lucky ones to receive a job in my line of work, because my passion just shinned through.

After seeing the mom back to her son in the recovery room a little while later, I talked to some of the nurses and one of them told me “We can’t thank you enough. You really did an amazing job today.” I told her I really appreciated that and, that ENDO was one of my favorite areas I had been in so far.

So, during these past two months, I have enjoyed it, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little homesick or been bored at times. Who doesn’t during their internship? While I have two months complete, I have been starting the process of looking for jobs. That in its self is for another blog post.

I know I said I would be updating more than what I have, but in my defense, my internship has been keeping me busy (or as much as it can at this point). Up next will either be medical play or my guest blog post on Spellbound.

Until next time!

 

The Lives You Change…

 

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During our lives we never fully know the impact we make on others. It could be a small gesture as saying hello and smiling to a stranger or buying someone’s meal that is behind you. That gesture could make their entire day, because we never know what they could be going through. They could have just received some devastating news: a diagnosis, a loved one passing away, finances. Anything. That one simple random act of kindness changed their entire day. And it was all because of you.

How do we do this within the healthcare field? Easy, right? Not entirely so. We have bad days where we just want to throw it all in. We want to scream at someone, eat an entire mega milkshake (milkshake, cake on top and a lollypop—NYC!) or just want to do anything except our work. However, we can’t leave our patients and their families. We must stay there and suffer through the bad moments. We all have them. If someone says they don’t (in any line of work) they are lying. During the hard times, we have to look on the bright side (hard I know), but when you have those special moments with a patient, family or even a co-worker it is all worth it. Even if it is only for a few moments or maybe even a couple of days. You helped make that person’s life a little better, a little brighter.

In the past six weeks of my internship, I have changed several families lives. More than what I probably realize. For example, I had a parent tell me I had become famous with one of her friend’s families. Her friend texted her and said “Make sure you ask for Ashley, she is a Child Life Specialist student. She is amazing. During my son’s visit last week, she blew bubbles and made our stay at the hospital amazing. She went out of her way to make us feel welcomed and comfortable.” She looked up from her phone after reading and asked. “Are you Ashley?” I smiled and said yes (even though I already introduced myself).

Another example would be when I was in ENDO surgery and I had a parent tell me that she was so grateful for me. The parent was scared for her child and seeing her child interacting with me through our love of Grey’s Anatomy and fried pickles, the mom knew than that her daughter would be fine and that, she (the parent) could freak out on the inside and that was okay. It was okay for her to freak out, because she knew that I was going to be with her daughter. As I talked to the mom in the waiting room, she gave me a hug and told me that I was going to make an amazing child life specialist and that you could tell that I loved doing what I did.

Or even when I am in the ER and a parent tells me that they thought I was the actual child life specialist and not a student. The parent thought I did that good of a job prepping and distracting their child during a painful procedure. That was how impressed the parent was with me with their toddler.

Moments like those I just mentioned every child life specialist and every healthcare professional wants. Even when we have hard days, we need to remember that we are making differences. Even if we can’t see it. We are! People are always watching us. Healthcare professionals, parents and patients. Make that impact a good one, because you only get one shot to do so.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world.

                                                    Gandhi

 

P.S Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!

 

Until Next Time!

One Month into My Adventure!

 

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Hard to believe I have been at my internship an entire month! The time is really flying. During this past month, I have really learned a lot and helped kids and their families cope during their hospital stay. For example, I have helped patients with Asthma treatments, stiches, blood draws, IV starts, Psych visits, and guided a small child through a dog bite who came into the ER. The patient was such a trooper.

For this patient I used bubbles as a good distraction and relationship builder. While the child engaged with the bubbles, I explained to mom and dad who I was and what my role was at the hospital. While playing with a bubble app on the I-pad a medical student came in to irrigate the wound. This allowed me to tell the child that it was going to be cold, but to keep looking at the I-pad, which by than I had a Dora the Explore episode playing.

As I prepped the patient, I realized God has me in the right field. Many take part in internships (for any major) and realize that is not what they want to do. I am blessed and so thankful I am in the right line of work.

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I have even been told that I have been the best person that a family has met since being at the hospital. Or being told by a patient’s mother that I have really made a difference within their child’s hospital stay (i.e. different activities and taking the time to engage with the patient). Or having another patient’s mother tell me that I did an excellent job with her child, and that it showed that I love working with children.

All the experience I have had (so far) has really made a good internship. Because of that, I can go into a room and be confident, be knowledgeable and be a smiling face to a family who may be going through a tough moment in their lives.

I can’t wait to see where the next 10 weeks takes me! Within that time, I will learn, grow and I am certain the time will elapse quickly!

 

Until Next Time!

First Week Down!

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As most of you know, I began my child life internship on Monday. During this first week, I really learned a lot, and will continue to as the weeks come and go. The first week, I learned about Buzzy (man I needed that as a kid! That would have saved so many tears and screams!), different medical terms and conditions (they always seem to amaze me…not sure if that is in a good way or bad way. Lol), Epic (the hospitals charting system) and much more. I do know one thing for sure, my nerves finally got better and I became more relaxed as the week progresses, I can only improve from here and become a better CLS (Child Life Student) and later on a better Child Life Specialist.

I will say though, one of my favorite opportunities I had this week was to facilitate a scavenger hunt for an 11-year-old patient. She had to get out of bed and walk the unit. I asked her if she wanted to go on a scavenger hunt with me and she got really excited! I told her that if she found all the stickers (18 total) that she could have a prize from the child life closet. Having that is a good incentive the patient went on the scavenger hunt and before she knew she had walked around the unit, the patient found all the stickers. Going to the CL closet, I told her she was great at finding the stickers and that she could beat me at finding them any day. Picking out her prize, she went back to her room to have her lunch that had just arrived.

There is no better way to experience something you are passionate about than to be there and witness it firsthand.

Can’t wait to see where the next 13 weeks take me! Sorry for a short post. Not sure how long they will end up being over the next couple of weeks (I will just be lucky if I get to update regularly! Lol).

 

Until Next Time!