Child life at Methodist Children’s Hospital
While your child is being cared for at Methodist Children’s Hospital, you may request the services of a child life specialist to help them with the support they need. Our child life specialists help children in the hospital with any anxieties or stresses they are having and help families throughout their stay with us.
Child life specialists are trained professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child development or a related field. Our specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of your child by collaborating and developing supportive relationships with their parents and other healthcare professionals to increase familiarity with our hospital environment.
At Child Life, our mission statement is: “As child life specialists, we strive to minimize the stress and anxiety of our pediatric patients and their families. As a team, we are dedicated to providing children and families with support in order to promote and foster family-centered care.”
Facility dog program
WAGS over Texas was established in 2017 as the first and only facility dog program in South Texas. Facility dogs are highly trained canines that work as members of the healthcare team to support our pediatric patients and their families. Hazel’s job at Methodist Children’s Hospital is to support children in the healthcare setting by:
- Providing distraction during painful procedures
- Supporting patients during new diagnosis education
- Encouraging post-surgical ambulation
- Helping patients explore new coping skills in the healthcare setting
Follow along with our working dogs on Instagram @WAGSovertexas.
Meet the Team
- Birthday – 11/5/2015
- Favorite part of the job - Playing pet the dog with patients
- Favorite toy- Tennis balls
- Best trick – Playing the word game
- Favorite Costume – Princess Dress
- Words to live by-” Worry less, Zoomie More “– Hazel
- What training do they have?
Hazel was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia at Canine Assistants. From the age of 8 weeks old, she learned how to interact with new experiences and unfamiliar people. She is a certified service dog who has had additional training to become a facility dog. Hazel is trained using a bond based approach to best create a connection between facility dog and handler.
- Who takes care of them?
Our pup lives full time with her primary handler. Outside of working hours, she enjoys swimming, going on hikes, and just being a normal dog.
- What patients get to see the pups?
Our team of Certified Child Life Specialist consult our facility dogs for patients who would benefit from support. Due to infection control practices and patient volume not every patient is able to see our furry friends. Please reach out to the child life team if you have questions!
Pediatric therapeutic gaming program
As a specialized branch of the Child Life Department, our Patient Technology Specialist (PTS) provides therapeutic interventions using technology and gaming in order to minimize stress and provide patients with a sense of normalcy. Additionally, the PTS provides technical assistance and expertise for staff, develops new technology-related opportunities for patients, and orchestrates bedside therapeutic interventions. This unique program was the first of its kind in Texas and remains the only designated therapeutic gaming program in San Antonio.
Music Therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music Therapy is done by a credentialed professional who has a bachelor’s or higher in music therapy and obtained MT-BC (music therapist, board certified) credentials from the certification board for music therapists (CBMT).
Music therapy sessions here at Methodist Children’s Hospital are used to support patients and family members in achieving a wide variety of goals and objectives including:
- Reducing anxiety/fear/stress
- Expressing emotions
- Increasing the use of coping/relaxation skills
- Decreasing perception of pain levels
- Building legacies/memories
- Supporting appropriate developmental milestones
Music Therapy has proven to be a valuable and effective tool in helping children and families cope with hospitalization. The Music Therapy program currently serves all medical, surgical, oncology, and intensive care inpatient units. Referrals can be made by any staff member on the team (nurses, physicians, Child Life specialists and more) and can be requested by patients or families themselves.
To request the services of a child life specialist, please ask your child’s nurse for a referral or contact Child Life directly. You may also request a Child Life pre-admission or pre-operative tour for patients and their families to help all parties involved become more comfortable with the care they are about to receive. To schedule a tour, please call Child Life.
Call Child Life: (210) 575-7399
Child Life Specialists are highly educated, trained professionals with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in child development or related field. Child Life Specialists focus on the psychosocial needs of children by collaborating and developing supportive relationships with parents and other health care professionals to increase familiarity with the hospital environment. Child Life Specialists are able to facilitate coping strategies and decrease anxiety through: play, procedure preparation and support, education, self-expression activities and school services.
- Play: It is a child’s job to play. Play normalizes the hospital environment and encourages children to express their feelings, concerns and understanding of hospitalization.
- Procedure Preparation and Support: Child Life Specialists prepare patients for what to expect during their hospitalization and use distraction and non-pharmacological pain management techniques during the procedure.
- Education: Child Life Specialists help patients and families gain a better understanding of a new diagnosis through interactive teaching.
- School Services: Bridging the gap between home and hospital life, Child Life Specialists are available to set up hospital bound and homebound schooling for those who qualify.
- Pet Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Art Therapy
Due to visitor restrictions, our department is currently unable to provide in-person pre-surgical tours. We have created “virtual tours” based on your child’s developmental level to help all parties involved become more comfortable with the care they are about to receive. For any additional questions or needs, please call the child life department at (210) 575-7399.
The volunteers who donate their time to Methodist Children’s Hospital play an important role in the experience of our patients and families. They support the Hospital's mission to care for not just the patient, but the entire family by working alongside healthcare professionals. We are always looking for new volunteers to join the Methodist Children’s Hospital team!
Many of our volunteers work directly with patients:
- Assisting in hospital playrooms
- Providing bedside activities for patients
- Delivering Art Cart supplies to patients rooms
Is your dog certified as a pet therapy dog? If so, you might be a fit for pet therapy volunteering.
- At least 16 years old
- 18 years of age to work directly with patients
- Complete an application and background check form
- Interview with the Child Life volunteer coordinator
- Willing to commit to work at least 100 hours annually
- Attend Orientation
- Provide immunization records and get a TB test
- Complimentary uniforms
- A free meal while on duty
- Free parking
- Discounts in the Blue Bird Gift Shop
- Scholarships are available to qualified volunteers
For the health and well-being of our volunteers and our patients, we require that all volunteers be immunized against Rubella (German measles) Rubella (red measles). Volunteers will provide to the Employee Health department before volunteering all of the following:
- Documentation of prior vaccination for MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) if born in 1957 or later.
- Documentation of any previous TB skin testing within the last five years.
- Documentation of Hepatitis B vaccine if you have received it.
- Documentation of the VZV (Chicken pox) vaccine if you have received it.
The Child Life practicum provides students the opportunity to gain insight and exposure to the child life profession and help students understand the unique needs of hospitalized children and families. Students are provided a comprehensive learning experience encompassing observations of child life specialists’ interactions with hospitalized children and teens, active participation in various areas of programming, and ongoing supervision and feedback. This exposure is designed to prepare the student for a more the intensive, career-oriented internship training experience.
For questions regarding practicum opportunities, contact the child life department at (210) 575-7399.
- Completed, or currently pursuing, an undergraduate or graduate degree in child life, psychology, child development, child and family studies, or a related field. Applicants may be independent or university-affiliated.
- A minimum of 50 hours working or volunteering with children in healthcare setting. All hours must be verified by the institution(s) on official letterhead.
- Hold a minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Ability to commit to a minimum of 200 hours, which will be completed over the course of 12-15 weeks.
- Completed TACLP Common Practicum Application
Practicum packets must include:
- Typed and completed TACLP Common Practicum Application
- All academic transcripts (unofficial copies are acceptable)
- Typed question responses
- Verification of at least 50 volunteer hours with hospitalized children listed on the TACLP common application
- Two (2) TACLP reference forms (at least one must be from a healthcare professional who observed you interacting with children) signed and sealed in separate envelopes.
- Professional resume
Mail Completed application to:Methodist Children's Hospital
Child Life Department
ATTN: Student Committee
7700 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio, TX 78229
Methodist Children’s Hospital follows the guidelines recommended by the Association of Child Life Professionals regarding application, offer, and acceptance dates. For further information, please visit Child Life.
We are not accepting practicum students at this time, please call for any further questions.
The Methodist Children’s Hospital Child Life internship is an intensive 600-hour clinically based program that meets national accreditation standards set by the Association of Child Life Professionals. It is our goal to provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge of child development and theories to help patients and families adjust to their unique healthcare experience. Throughout the semester, students will enhance their assessment, therapeutic play skills and develop their ability to provide education and procedural preparation and support. Interns will complete two, six-week rotations supervised by a CCLS who meets all supervision requirements of the ACLP. Interns will gain exposure to multiple medical areas based on the semester in which they apply. Our internship selection process consists of application reviews followed by multiple interviews. Internships are offered based on deadlines set by the ACLP.
Due to the volume of applications this department receives, we are unable to confirm if or when an application arrives. Consider using Delivery Receipt/Read Receipt to know when your application has been received and viewed.
For questions regarding internship opportunities, contact the child life department at (210) 575-7399.
- Completed, or currently pursuing, an undergraduate or graduate degree in child life, psychology, child development, child and family studies, or a related field. Our facility accepts both affiliated and unaffiliated intern applicants.
- Applicants must have completed the minimum required experience hours per the requirement of the ACLP for application.
- Preferred: Completion of at least 120 hours practicum experience verified by practicum supervisor.
- Ability to commit to a minimum of 600 hours.
We are not accepting Internship students at this time, please call for any further questions.
- Complete the Internship Readiness Common Application.
- Detailed instructions on how to complete the application can be found in the guide.
- Email the downloaded application to MCHChildLife@MHShealth.com
- The email subject line should state the internship session (winter/spring, fall, summer) and year.
- The PDF downloaded as part of the ACLP Internship Readiness Common Application is the only component that will
- No additional documentation will be required or reviewed for a candidate’s initial submission (no letters of recommendation, cover letters, resumes, etc.).
Methodist Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing students with the best possible educational opportunity. Please note that to provide the best opportunity, internship offerings may not be available for every semester. Please continue to check back to this portion of the website for updates on available internship offerings.
We are not accepting Internship students at this time, please call for any further questions.
Note: These apps are not endorsed by Methodist Healthcare.
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