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Child Life Job Interview Preparation
Terms in this set (37)
Tell me about yourself
- Go by Katie instead of Katelyn
- 25 years old
- living in Granbury, where I was raised
- recently completed Master of Science in Child Life from TWU, actually on the same day that I completed my internship at Children's Hospital Colorado
- Earned BA in Family Studies and Youth Ministry from Howard Payne in 2018
- discovered child life from a childhood friend of mine who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease
- saw the impact they made on his family and was inspired to do the same
- Fun fact: love being outdoors, recently into pickleball, never been to Boston
Why did you choose to pursue child life?
- It's a unique field (different every day, lots of different roles)
- A good friend of mine was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease during infancy
- frequent flyer of the hospital
- CCLS changed his perspective on illness and hospitalization
- I don't believe that anyone's childhood should be compromised because of illness, hospitalization, or injury
- My friend's illness could've robbed him of a "normal" childhood, but his CCLS gifted him with as normal a childhood as possible
- I want to be a CCLS because I've seen the impact they make on patients and families, and I believe that kids should be kids while they can
Why do you want to work for us?
- best pediatric hospital in the nation
- child life department itself is esteemed
- offers unique services to address psychosocial needs and clearly values treatment of the whole child through those services (reiki, accupuncture, yoga, expressive arts)
- would love the opportunity to collaborate to progress the healing process for patients
What self-care techniques do you have?
- prioritizing self-care is something that I've struggled with in the past
- wasn't until my internship that I really understood the Importance of to maintaining a work/life balance
- Make my work space more comfortable to increase productivity, hanging pictures of friends/family or inspiration quotes, keeping it organized, "decorating" with décor that I enjoy
- Take a break from social media/internet
- enjoy breaks away from the desk
How do you handle stress?
One of the things that I often do when I begin feeling overwhelmed is making to-do lists. This helps me visualize what I need to get done and allows me to complete one thing at a time rather than attempting to get things done all at once. I also cope with stress by staying organized, and also allowing stress to act more as a motivator for me to meet deadlines and do things well. When I do these things, I find that I am better able to manage my stress and produce better work. During one of my last semesters at Howard Payne University, I took 24 credit hours while also working as a youth ministry intern, training for my first marathon, and I participating in several organizations on campus. This was a highly stressful time for me, but I used these techniques to help me manage my stress and I was able to get a 4.0 for the semester.
Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a coworker and how it was resolved
This conflict occurred pretty recently, when I was covering for one of my coworkers in the emergency department. A school age patient came in for a deep laceration on his finger. Before doing stitches, the physician planned to do a digital bock that required 2 lidocaine injections. I went in to prep the patient and his family for the procedure, and when I was prepping the patient, I noticed that he didn't have any LET cream on his hand to numb the area prior to the lidocaine injections. Following preparation, I asked the physician if she was going to use LET cream to ease the pain of the injections. She said that since the ED was so busy, she'd forgotten to put an order in, and decided the patient could do without the LET cream. Before responding, I tried to get a better understanding as to why she didn't want to use LET. She responded by saying that other patients were waiting and LET would take too long to soak in. To me, this didn't seem to be a decision that was made in the best interest of the patient. Though the physician of course knew about the pain that would be accompanied by lidocaine injections, I reminded her of that and asked when she was planning to do the repair. She responded by saying she planned to go in in about 10 minutes. We came to a resolution when I asked her if she could place an order for LET, thinking that having it set for just 10 minutes, although it wouldn't be fully effective, would at least be better than not having any numbing agent at all. She agreed, and I reminded her that I would be present during the procedure to help her patient cope effectively, and to hopefully make her role easier.
Tell me about an intervention that didn't go well
- received a referral from the ED to prep an anxious 7-year-old for a laceration repair
- After meeting with the patient and family and introducing services, I made an assessment, when both the parent and child agreed that preparation would be beneficial
- walked through the steps of the procedures, provided him with sensory information, and allowed him to carefully touch the medical tools that would be used
- reported that he felt most nervous about "the poke"
- responded by telling him about the numbing medicine to ease his anxiety about the poke
- established a coping plan (watch iPad, hold mom's hand)
- assessed that the patient was slightly nervous, but would likely cope well
- pt was compliant until he saw the tools out of the corner of his eye (physical and verbal protests)
- poc tried to get him back on the table
- advocated that we give the patient a break, let him talk to his parents and determine next steps
- asking the patient what helps him at home, gave options of different things we could try, reward after sutures
- needed versed
- learned to go into a procedure being ready for the child to react differently than how we originally anticipated
Tell me about your favorite intervention
One of my favorite interactions would probably be with a 3yo patient who was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and was being treated in the CICU. She underwent a heart transplant the week before, and I wanted to check in and see how she was progressing. This particular patient really enjoyed spending time with people and loved doing arts and crafts, so I wanted to have something prepared, but also knew that she may not be up for it, given that she'd just had a major surgery. When I arrived at her room, she was clearly very weak and somewhat tired. I still presented the activity to her, just in case she wanted to participate, but she shook her head "no." I tried to come up with different activities that she may be more interested in that would still allow her to rest, such as reading or singing songs to her, which from previous interactions, I knew she really enjoyed. It wasn't until I offered her her baby doll that I got a response. I asked if she needed to give her baby doll a bath, and she indicated "yes." So, we spent some time playing with her baby doll and I would gently help the patient grasp the washrag or baby's brush. She began smiling, and the nurse said it was the first time she'd really attempted to talk since her transplant. I really enjoyed this interaction because it kind of took me "back to basics" and really reinforced how play is so powerful for patients. It was also likely the first sense of normalcy she'd had since surgery, and I was grateful to be a part of it.
Tell me about a time you implemented medical play
- 3yo F strabismus repair
- pt wouldn't take versed
- tea party with stuffed animals she brought
- asked pt if she wanted to have meds by cup or syringe (cup)
- pt was compliant
- wanted to give meds by herself
- had her stuffed animals drink
3 yo hypertrophic cardimyopathy
L needs positive exposure to medical equipment to reduce her treatment-related anxiety
To familiarize L with medical equipment in a positive way and provide a sense of control over her medical experiences
Tell me about a time you had to be flexible
- Received a referral from the ED specialist to provide preparation and support to a 12-year-old patient getting an IV
- during my second rotation in critical care, never been to the ED before
- developmentally delayed, nonverbal, and deaf
- wouldn't be able to read lips with PPE
- thought of interventions that would appeal to his other senses (Buzzy, stress ball, iPad)
- introduced self to caregiver and teachers
- went over the steps of the procedure by showing him the medical equipment and allowing him to manipulate them
- caregiver said he doesn't play with much
- enjoyed buzzy, and stress ball
- engaged with iPAd during procedure
- coped well
- learned to be more flexible in my preparation and support, focusing on abilities rather than inabilities
Tell me about an activity you implemented that didn't go as planned
- Test tube glitter wands 6yo inpatient
- enjoyed the activity
- wanted to take the cap off of all the tubes and dump out the contents into medicine cups
- had to be flexible and let the child lead the activity
- knew it wasn't going to be beneficial for her if I didn't allow her to do what she was wanting during that time
Tell me about an activity you did with a child that was innovative or creative
- 13-year-old onc patient, tired of doing same activities
- painted her name with orange and white stripes to signify leukemia
How do you handle criticism?
I try to view criticism as a learning opportunity. To be honest, I appreciate getting feedback so I can better understand the areas I need to improve. For instance, during my internship, I received feedback from my supervisor that I wasn't spending enough intentional time with patients and families during assessments. When I first began practicing assessments, I was overly aware of the questions I needed to ask, as if I had a sort of mental list. I was so nervous to miss anything important, that I wasn't letting the conversation flow naturally, and once I was done going through my list of questions, I would leave the room and not spend more time just getting to know the patient organically. I appreciated the feedback and began to apply it as soon as possible. Each of my supervisors, in every evaluation, told me that they were impressed by my ability to apply constructive feedback and by oppeness to learn new strategies.
Tell me about your experience with bereavement
my experience with bereavements are somewhat limited. I did have opportunities to provide support during bereavements alongside my supervisor during my second rotation in critical care units, but I didn't have the opportunity to do so independently. I was able to provide support by presenting options for legacy building and memory making items such as memory boxes made by the gaming and technology specialist, Regali, family photos, and prints
Tell me about your internship experience
- 50+ team members, including 4 CLAs
- 3 facility dogs, as well as therapy dogs brought in by volunteers
- 3 rotations (surgery and procedure center [supprelin implants, rectal manometries, LPs] critical care [PICU, CICU, CPCU....bereavement, legacy building, memory making, sibling support, chest tube removals, PICC line placements, co-treating with therapies, sitting in on ethics meeting, medical play and child-directed activities] ED [prioritizing, procedural support and preparation...laceration repairs, IVs, foreign body removals]
- opportunities to observe in other units (NICU, eating disorder unit, shadow a facility dog)
- Seacrest Studios (create and facilitate a medical play activity every month in the studio to be broadcasted throughout the hospital [medical bingo, build your own doctor kit])
- weekly journals highlighting my diverse experiences
- working portfolio of medical terminologies, as well as child-friendly definitions
- working portfolio of activities to implement with patients
- intensive case study following a 3yo patient with hypertophic cardiomyopathy in heart failure, heart transplant, presented my case study to the department
- participated in weekly tutorials over child life related subjects (preparation, bereavement, PRAP)
- project (create a virtual, interactive training module for the organization on the clinical components of patient emotional safety, more specifically on appropriate language and communication...presented it to child life staff)
Tell me about a time you made a mistake, and what you learned from it
- 5 yo M, ear tube removal
- - assessed he would cope well with IV info (based on behavior...receptive, engaged, playful)
- told him he would have a sticker on his hand after he woke up (dev appropriate)
- Began crying and repeatedly said "I don't want to do that part!"
- moc said that he wouldn't need an IV because the procedure would be short
- apologized to moc
- told the patient we could skip that part
- explained that some other kids need to have an IV, but he didn't, so he could skip that part
- pt returned to baseline
- learned to later ask if the patient wanted to see a picture of the sticker that would be in their hand when they woke up
Transgender pt. Accidentally referred to the patient as "he" instead of "she"
Tell me about a time you had to prioritize patients
I can't recall a specific instance, but I prioritization is something that I do regularly in my current position covering for various units, but especially in the emergency department, where patient volume is typically pretty high. When prioritizing I consider:
- previous healthcare encounters
- where they are developmentally
- Chronic vs acute
- how invasive the procedure is
- whether caregivers are present
- What coping techniques they already have established
Tell me about a time you received feedback
During undergraduate school, I took a marriage and family therapy course. I absolutely loved the course and was interested in the material being taught. I made consistent A's in the class and thought a 4.0 would be an attainable goal for the semester, considering I was also making good grades in my other classes. However, when our final grades were submitted, I saw that I had gotten a B in my marriage and family therapy course. In response, I set up a time to meet with him to discuss my grade. During office hours, he told me that he was pleased with the work I submitted throughout the semester, but that I did not participate enough in class. He advised that I contribute more to class discussions rather than sit back quietly. I considered his feedback and applied it the following semester. I tried to sit in the front row of my classes and remain engaged in conversations, and earned a 4.0 for the semester.
Tell me about a difficult patient interaction
- 10 yr old F w/ SMA for LP
- SMA causes severe muscle weakness
- pt unable to speak
- indicated yes by raising eyebrows and no by closing her eyes
- no PECS or speaking device
- can be difficult to know what they are trying to communicate without parents present
- relied heavily on moc to develop a coping plan (moc reported that she wanted to watch Boss Baby, and had gotten LPs several times before)
- ensured that I only asked yes or no questions to be sensitive to the patient's needs (are you in pain, would a blanket make you feel more comfortable, have you seen this movie before, etc)
Tell me about a time you had difficulty maintaining professional boundaries
Truthfully, I haven't had an experience like this, but I am aware that working with children and families during their most vulnerable moments can make you susceptible to experiencing strong emotions. To maintain personal boundaries, I believe it's important to be- self-aware and recognize your feelings and potentially remove yourself for a situation if absolutely necessary- avoid sharing personal information- work within your scope of practice and refer to other professionals when necessary- treat all patients and families equally
What are your career goals?
My long-term goal is to bring child life to foreign countries where child life may not yet exist. During one of my mission trips to Uganda, we were visiting a school to help teach classes and build relationships with the students. The same day we were there, some of the students were receiving dental work. You could hear them becoming so upset throughout the courtyard. I had a similar experience during my time working at Restoring Hope Village in South Africa. While I was there, we got to spend a day at the children's hospital. Though we didn't see any procedures take place, it was very evident that child life was needed. The entire atmosphere was very upsetting - children sitting in cribs with nothing to do, crying very often, no stimulation. These experiences are what really encouraged me to set a goal like this, but I also have a passion for missions and bringing child life along medical mission trips would perfectly intertwine my love for child life and international missions.
Tell me about a time you advocated for a patient
- 3yo patient going to x-ray
- radiologist asked me to step out
- educated her on the benefits of child life and also reiitereted that my role was not only to help the child feel more at ease, but also to make their jobs easier by increasing cooperation
Tell me about a time you facilitated therapeutic play
During my practicum, I encountered a 16 year old patient who had been diagnosed with Leukemia. She came into the hospital regularly for treatment, but was usually in and out. However, at one point, she was admitted for a few days due to complications with treatment. My supervisors asked me to check in on her, so I introduced myself again and asked if she would like to do an activity. I gathered supplies for her to make a dream catcher on a piece of paper. Inside the dream-catcher she wrote about her fears and concerns. Outside of the dream catcher, she wrote things that she enjoyed and helped her feel less anxious. She really opened up to me about some of the things she was struggling with and we built good rapport from that activity.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I consider my greatest strengths to be communication, flexibility, and ambition. As both a child life student and professional, I have been commended for my communication skills. Four weeks into my internship, I received a 4 out of 4 rating on my ability to effectively document during my initial evaluation, signifying one to two years experience as a child life specialist. I believe my strength in flexibility increased while working with children and adolescents with autism as a registered behavior technician. I was required to adapt the environment, as well as my teaching methods, to meet the needs of my clients. Additionally, flexibility was necessary to appropriately address and manage consistent changes in behavioral responses. My ambition is demonstrated in many areas of my life, but specifically during my last semester of my undergraduate degree, when I took 24 credit hours, worked part time, participated in several university organizations, and received a 4.0 for the semester.
1. Doubt myself and my abilities - remind myself of all that I have accomplished thus far and the unique skills I have that I can bring to the table.
2. Have a hard time maintaining a healthy work/life balance - setting boudnaries for myself by saying "no" more often when I feel overwhelemed and like I can't take on a task, practicing self care
3. Overthinking - become fixated on my mistakes and have a hard time making decisions because of my overthinking, fixing that by giving myself a time limit for making decisions
Tell me about a time you broke a rule
- second rotation in critical care
- house-wide on weekends
- received referral to provide end-of-life services to a family who had just lost their 9-day-old daughter
- Hindu family
- part of culture was to surround the loved one with flowers, but they had to be real
- looking in the chapel, gift shop was closed
- broke rules by cutting flowers from the grounds outside
- family was very happy with the flowers we gathered
- supervisor later informed management
Tell me about a disagreement you had and how it was resolved
- 5yo girl in ED needing an IV, poc and gmoc present, didn't want her to be prepped, assessed why** some kids say they feel better knowing what to expect, were more receptive with my explanation
tell me about an activity you did with a child who was upset, angry, or dealing with separation
- preschool age patient
- dressing change for PICC
- not coping well during the procedure
- medical play afterwards to help her process
Tell me about an experience you had in which you had to set limits with a patient
- school aged boy, ASD, foreign body removal
- Katz extractor
- MOC said pt didn't like anything near his face, and would likely try to bite, hit, etc.
- set limits with the patient by telling him that it was okay to be mad, etc but it wasn't okay to hit, bite, etc.
- reitereated that the team was there to help
- used stress ball and popper toy
How would you interact with trauma or psych patients?
Trauma informed care should be practiced consistently, regardless of whether or not there is suspicion that the child has experienced trauma
- being aware of the toys and activities you bring
- showing respect for them as you would any other patient
- ensuring language is sensitive
- explain why they have to do procedures
- reassure pt's that we're here to help them
- provide expressive and therapeutic activities
- check in with parents and caregivers and siblings, as traumas affect the entire family
Tell me about a time you went above and beyond for a patient
- patient with a congenital heart defect
- parents unable to visit often due to work and managing other children at home
- set up facetime
What do you hope to accomplish in this position?
One of the reasons I applied for a position at Boston Children's is because it clearly values the treatment of the whole child. I noticed this most clearly when looking into the integrative therapies the hospital offers (reiki, accupuncture, etc.). I hope to gain more understanding of the benefits of these therapies, and potentially become able to offer them myself to benefit my own patients, while also continuing to buuld on the skills I am acquiring as a new specialist.
Why should we choose you? what makes you qualified?
I believe that I would be a great candidate for the position due to the skillset I have attained through various experiences. First, I have gained cultural competence and humility while serving as a missionary intern in Uganda and South Africa. These experiences have increased my self-awareness and given me a greater appreciation for diversity. Furthermore, from my time overseas, I have become more confident in my ability to advocate for patients and families, which is a primary role of a child life specialist. Additionally, my competence in effectively communicating and serving patients with developmental delays and intellectual disabilities has increased since working with children on the autism spectrum as a registered behavior technician. This allows me to implement greater, more inclusive therapeutic programming to patients with special needs. With these skills, I am confident that I can provide excellent care to your patients and families.
What 3 words would your supervisors use to describe you?
outgoing- forming relationships with staff members
What was your biggest challenge during internship?
- prioritizing self-care
- putting too much pressure on myself to excel
During PRN: familiarizing myself with various units in a short amount of time
- friendly and outgoing
- quick learner
Tell me about a time you worked with a child who was uncooperative. What did you do?
- 3yo strabismus repair
- not drinking versed
- medical play with stuffed animals
- giving her a choice whether she wanted to drink it from a cup or syringe
- asking if she wanted to take give it herself or have parents give the medicine to her
What, in your opinion, are the hardest and most rewarding parts of child life?
the hardest parts are the most rewarding
Describe the response you would give if you were in an elevator and someone read your badge and asked what a child life specialist does
I work with a team of pediatric professionals to help children feel more confident and comfortable during their hospital stay. I use different forms of play to encourage positive coping and to enhance the overall hospital experience.
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