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!

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One Month into My Adventure!

 

Adventure

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!

First Day!

 

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TODAY WAS THE DAY! After a journey that lasted 2 years, I was finally able to begin the final piece to graduation. I STARTED MY CHILD LIFE INTERNSHIP! I am so excited for this journey! Can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Until next time!

P.S. Sorry for the short post.

Lily Pads—One Kids Legacy to Help Hospitalized Children

Being in the hospital is stressful, exhausting, boring and to be honest—scary. Especially if you are a child. No child wants to be hospitalized and spend days looking at four walls.

Maybe the child could go to the playroom, play a game or even go for a while. But what happens if the child is too weak to even take a walk around the unit or visit the playroom?

Nick Konkler had spent his entire life in and out of the hospital. At the age of four he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then later Leukemia. As he spent time in the hospital, an IV pole was with him every step of the way…

“You are connected to this pole 24/7, so if you have to get up to do anything, the pole goes with you,” Nick’s mom, Christina told Today (source from Today Show).

During one of his visits to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Nick observed a little girl trying to walk with her pole, but she was too weak to do so. That was when the lightbulb went off.

Nick’s idea was to build a “lily pad” for the IV pole. “lily pads” are a skateboard like object that attaches to the base of the IV pole. This allows patients to get around the hospital easier. They can sit on the board while someone pushes them or the child can walk next to their pole and ride when they become tired.

These boards also add a sense of normally to the child’s life. By having the opportunity to “skate” through the halls of the hospital, and to have their favorite character with them makes the child feel more at ease during their stay.

lily pad pic

 

Lily-Pads

However, before Nick could see his idea come to life, he passed away in February of 2015. After his death, many of the students at his high school came together one Saturday to help finish the project Nick thought so much of. These students helped build Nick’s legacy to the many children of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Eventually the “lily pads” were complete and delivered to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital; where children welcomed their new ride with laughter and smiles. Now children could ride in style down the hallways of the hospital.

Happy Child Life Month! Until next time!