• Child At Play

    The child life internship program at the Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah at Memorial University Medical Center provides a hands-on learning experience for students seeking a degree in child life. Our internship program consists of 600 hours of supervised clinical work within a children’s hospital (at least a 15-week commitment at 40 hours a week). Our internships are available during the winter/spring and fall semesters.

    Child life interns receive training and experience in the following areas: playroom management, therapeutic play activities, one-on-one and group support, supervision of volunteers, sibling and parental support, preparation and medical play for procedures, procedural support and distraction, peri-operative support and services, outpatient services, and other areas. Interns also participate in community outreach programs and support groups as designated by the child life team.

    Child Life Internship Objectives
    • To gain an understanding of and appreciation for the child life profession and a foundation for effective implementation of child life services and development of professional relationships.
    • To apply knowledge of developmental theory as it applies to children and adolescents experiencing healthcare in varied settings.
    • To develop a working knowledge of the philosophy and principles of patient and family centered care and skills to assist siblings, young adults, and families during high-stress times.
    • To increase understanding of communication styles and practice effective communication skills and strategies in supporting and advocating for the needs of children and families.
    • To utilize a variety of methods to assess children's and families' ability to cope with hospitalization, illness, or treatment, and demonstrate the ability to convert this data into a plan of care.
    • To demonstrate an understanding of the role of age-appropriate play within pediatric healthcare settings and to apply the necessary skills for the facilitation of children’s play in various settings and situations.
    • To demonstrate the ability to independently provide medical play/healthcare play interventions with children and adolescents in order to decrease stress and anxiety due to hospitalization and increase opportunities for mastery of healthcare experiences.
    • To provide support for children coping with a range of psychosocial issues by using play as a therapeutic modality.
    • To incorporate appropriate and effective coping techniques and interventions to support the well-being and resiliency of the patient and family and to address issues related to pain, anxiety, distress, and suffering.
    • To demonstrate a working knowledge of the process of psychological preparation and to facilitate psychological preparation with children and families for healthcare procedures and other potentially stressful events.
    • To provide accurate, insightful documentation in the patient's medical record that contributes to the plan of care.
    • To assess and understand the child life specialist’s role in end-of-life care. To assess and support families' preferences and engage in activities related to the assessment and psychosocial support of children and families facing and/or experiencing loss.
    • To understand and participate in child life administrative responsibilities including: volunteer/student supervision, school communication/planning, special events programming, materials management, statistics, and workload reporting.
    • To establish a reflective approach to practice that supports continued growth and self-awareness related to developing and maintaining sound professional boundaries, ethics, and self-care.
    Child With Doll
    Qualifications for Child Life Internship

    To be considered for a child life internship, candidates must meet the following qualifications:

    1. Must be a college senior, a current student, and have a university affiliation to apply for an internship. Suggested majors: child life, child development, family and human development, early childhood education, and recreational therapy.
    2. Must have completed a total of 10 college-level courses in child life or a related department/subject including a minimum of one child life course taught by a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).
    3. Minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.5 in major.
    4. Must have a minimum of 100 hours of a child life practicum experience that meets the standards set forth by the Child Life Council including experience working with children in healthcare or related settings under the supervision of a certified child life specialist. (Documented proof of hours required.)
    5. Must have a minimum of 100 hours working with healthy children in a developmental capacity. (Documented proof of hours required.)
    6. Must have a working knowledge of the resources provided by the Child Life Council. We require that each intern read the following books prior to internship:
      • Child Life in Hospitals: Theory and Practice, by Thompson and Stanford (1981)
      • Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual, by L. Gaynard, et al.; (1990)
      • Meeting Children’s Psychosocial Needs Across the Health Care Continuum, by Rollins, Bolig, & Mahan
    Application Process

    Students interested in applying for a child life internship should follow this schedule (due dates are consistent with Child Life Council recommendations):

    Fall Internship: August through December
    Application is due March 15th
    An offer is made by first Tuesday of May

    Winter/Spring Internship: January through May
    Application is due September 5
    An offer is made by second Tuesday of October

    Child Life Application Process

    Child Life internship applications must meet all requirements to be accepted for evaluation. Your application packet must be received by the application deadlines listed above. All required materials must be submitted together in a single packet. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

    Mail Applications to: Child Life Department
    Attention: Child Life Internship Coordinator
    Memorial University Medical Center - 3rd Floor Pediatrics
    4700 Waters Avenue
    Savannah, GA 31403

    Application packets should include the following:

    1. Child Life Council internship application (common application found at www.childlife.org).
    2. Formal letter of interest in child life internship.
    3. Professional resume.
    4. Copy of transcripts from all educational institutions related to your degree (student copy acceptable).
    5. Completed and approved course work review form and/or other documentation of eligibility assessment provided through the Child Life Council for certification (Refer to www.childlife.org for information on this process).
    6. Verification of a child life related experience in a hospital setting supervised by a certified child life specialist (100 hours minimum). Verification includes letter on institutional letterhead.
    7. Professional Recommendations: all recommendation forms and letters should be submitted in a confidential, sealed envelope with written proof on the back.
      • Recommendation Form: completed by a professional who has observed the student’s work with children in a childcare setting or within a well-child environment.
      • Recommendation Form: completed by a professional who has observed the student interacting with children and families within the healthcare setting.
      • Letter of Recommendation from an academic professional or advisor.
      • Letter of Recommendation should be from a separate individual (student’s choice) than the above recommendations.   
    8. Certified proof and/or letters from supervisors verifying hours spent working with healthy children in developmental capacity (100 hours minimum).
    9. Completion of child life internship essay questions, typed and double spaced.
    Child Life Internship Interview Process

    Phase 1: Each application will be processed and reviewed. A blind review of all qualified applications will be completed by the internship committee.

    Phase 2: Qualified applicants will be invited to Savannah for an on-site interview or will be offered a phone/Skype interview.

    Phase 3: An official offer will be made to one applicant on the Child Life Council's recommended offer date. The offer will be made between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

    Other Information

    Offers for internship made after a phone interview will be contingent upon the student visiting the hospital site prior to beginning the child life internship.

    Interns must present proof of immunizations and complete a criminal background check, drug screening, and other required paperwork one month prior to the start date. Failure to complete any of the above items will result in withdrawal of the internship offer. Child life interns do not receive a monetary stipend or housing assistance.