Child Life Specialists :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Child Life Specialists

Child Life Specialists are trained professionals with expertise in helping children and their families cope with health care experiences. All child life specialists have completed clinical training, hold a minimum bachelor's or master's degree, and are certified through The Association of Child Life Professionals.


Child life specialists minimize stress and anxiety of hospitalization through:

Preparation & Procedural Support

  • Enhance patients understanding of medical procedures by utilizing developmentally appropriate language and teaching aids to describe the typical sequence of events and sensory information
  • Support can be provided before, during and/or after medical procedures

Individualized Coping Plans

  • Collaborate with patients and families to customize plan to maximize coping during health care experiences
  • Identify alternative ways to promote pain management
  • Help patients develop ways to cope with fear, anxiety, separation and adjustment to the health care experience

Diagnosis Education

  • Use play, developmentally appropriate language and teaching aids to increase patients understanding of illness, injury or diagnosis

Pill Swallowing Education

  • Teach pill swallowing skills for patients over the age of 3 who are admitted to the hospital who require medication by mouth

Sibling Support

  • Educate and advocate for the needs of siblings or other children impacted by hospitalization
  • Use play and developmentally appropriate language to increase siblings’ understanding of illness, injury, diagnosis or change in medical status
  • Preparation for visits to the hospital while brother or sister is admitted
  • Individualized attention in the Sibling Clubhouse

Legacy Building

  • Bridge the gap between home and hospital by documenting developmental milestones, birthdays and holiday celebrations

Bereavement Support

  • Educate families regarding children’s understanding of death and dying
  • Help facilitate difficult conversations

Therapeutic Play (Individual & Group)

  • Self-expressive
  • Sensory
  • Medical play
  • Promoting typical growth and development, normalcy and socialization

Tours

Surgery for a child is an experience that involves the entire family. Nationwide Children’s Surgery Unit has an on-site tour to help both families and the patient understand what to expect when coming for surgery.

We provide individual tours with  time to explore medical equipment and a question and answer time for your family. 

To request a tour, you may call us at (614) 722-9107.

Please check with your referring physician to ensure your surgery is in the main OR on the Surgery Unit and not in the surgery center.  Surgery Center tours are scheduled through (614) 722-2929.

Need directions on how to get here and where to park? Check out our main campus map, directions and parking information.

Child Life Clinical Experiences

Nationwide Children’s Hospital is pleased to offer clinical experiences for students. We work closely with students to ensure the highest quality of learning opportunities.

We offer two different student experiences- Our Practicum which is an introductory experience to the child life profession and an Internship to provide advanced experience to further develop skills for child life students.

If you have any questions regarding our student opportunities, please feel free to contact the Family and Volunteer Services Department at (614) 722-3635.

Coverage Areas


Outpatient

  • Botox Clinic
  • Cardiac Clinic
  • Center for Colorectal Pelvic Reconstruction
  • Emergency Department
  • Feeding Program
  • Hematology/Oncology Clinic
  • Pulmonary Clinic
  • Procedure Center
  • Radiology
  • Sibling Clubhouse
  • Surgery Tours

Inpatient

  • Burn, Orthopedics and Trauma Unit
  • General Peds and Adolescent Medicine Unit
  • General Surgery and Surgical GI Unit
  • GI, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Renal and Nephrology Unit
  • Hematology/Oncology Unit (including BMT and MIBG)
  • Infectious Disease Unit
  • Neurosciences Unit (including Neurodiagnostics and ENT)
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Pulmonary (including Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit) Rehabilitation Unit
  • The Heart Center (including Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit)

*Available for other areas as requested.*

Child Life Specialists Contact Info

Meet Our Child Life Specialists Leadership

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000