The Child Life Department at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas (DCMCCT) is a vital component of the healthcare team and contributes to the overall quality of developmentally appropriate, patient and family-centered care for patients of all ages. Staffed by professionally trained individuals, the child life team helps children and their families cope with the emotional and psychological stress of illness, inpatient and outpatient medical treatment, and trauma. The Child Life Department works closely with members of the entire healthcare team and with families to reduce the stress and anxiety of the healthcare experience and to facilitate positive outcomes.
Child life specialists, supported by trained child life assistants, are assigned to every inpatient unit including the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Intermediate Care Unit (IMC), Hematology/Oncology Unit, Respiratory Unit, Neurology Unit, and Surgical/Trauma Unit, as well as outpatient areas such as Day Surgery, Imaging, Specialty Care Center, Dialysis, Hematology/Oncology Clinic, and the Emergency Department. In addition to a department director, the Child Life Department includes Play, Art and Music Therapists and staff who coordinate special events and community relations. The dedicated child life team prioritizes the facilitation of therapeutic play to promote growth and development, enhance opportunities for communication and self-expression, and foster coping skills of patients and their families.
Our child life internship program is designed to support career training for those who are currently seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree in child life, child development, or a related field and are looking to advance in the child life profession. Our goal is to provide interns with opportunities to expand their knowledge of child life and child development, enhance their therapeutic play skills, develop their ability to provide education and procedural preparation and support and strengthen their assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills.
Our internship program is unpaid and does not guarantee future employment. Housing, transportation, meals, and medical insurance are the responsibility of the intern. All child life students are required to be affiliated with a college or university and complete the internship for course credit. Internship offers are contingent on securing an affiliation agreement between Dell Children's and the applicant's college/university as well as completing a criminal background check, current TB test, and other vaccination requirements in accordance with hospital policies.
Child Life Internship Requirements
- Applicants must be currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree and receive course credit for the internship. Priority is given to applicants with an educational background in child life, child development or human development, family systems, psychology or another closely related field.
- Completion of 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.
- Work or volunteer experience with well children in a group or individual setting.
- A minimum of 150 hours experience working directly with children in a healthcare setting, preferably in a child life program. These hours must be verified by a supervisor on institution letterhead.
- Commitment to a 600 hour, 15 week, full time internship. Work days and hours will vary depending on the schedule of the intern's rotation supervisor. Some nights and weekends may be required.
Applicants who meet the above requirements must submit an application to the Child Life Internship Committee to be considered for an interview. Please submit all application materials together in one envelope. Please do not place materials in any kind of folder, binder or portfolio cover. A complete application must include all of the following:
- Typed CLC Common Child Life Internship Application.pdf with your university affiliation information competed under Application Category. Handwritten applications and applications with the independent internship category selected will not be reviewed.
- Professional resume including academic and clinical experience.
- Academic transcripts from all colleges/universities attended. Unofficial copy is acceptable.
- Child Life Council coursework review.
- Child Life Council course verification form.
Two completed Dell Children's Child Life Internship Reference Forms from an academic professor, supervisor, or other professional who has directly observed the applicant's work with children. Please do not include personal references or more than 2 forms, as they will not be considered. Please send the following link to your references and ask them to complete and submit the online form.
Once submitted, the form will be sent directly to the child life education committee and added to the applicant's other application materials. Applicants are responsible for confirming, with the reference, that the form has been submitted.
- Verification of at least 150 hours experience working with children in a healthcare setting on institution letterhead. This can include work, volunteer and/or practicum experience. At the time of application, a minimum of 75 hours must be completed and verified on institution letterhead and additional verification, on institution letterhead, that the remaining hours are in the process of being completed is required. The remainder of the hours must be completed and verified by the internship start date.
- A copy of any written evaluation received from a volunteer or practicum experience, if applicable.
Internships are offered three times a year. Applications must be received by the application deadline or they will not be considered. Deadlines are set in accordance with the Child Life Council internship scheduling guidelines found at:
|January (winter/spring)||September 5||2nd Tuesday of October||Following Wednesday|
|May (summer)||January 5||2nd Tuesday of February||Following Wednesday|
|September (fall)||May 5||2nd Tuesday of June||Following Wednesday|
- The internship experience includes a one week orientation, 2 clinical rotations and planned time to visit other sites within the hospital and community. Interns will be supervised by Certified Child Life Specialists meeting all eligibility requirements established by the Child Life Council.
- Observation of and experience in assessment of needs and documentation in the medical chart
- Planning and implementation of developmentally appropriate activities and therapeutic play in group and individual settings.
- Observation of and experience in providing patient and family support through coping interventions, developmentally appropriate education and preparation, emotional support and interactions that facilitate expression.
- An average of 3 educational inservices per week facilitated by child life professionals and multidisciplinary staff covering a variety of topics applicable to child life practice and profession.
- Participation in multidisciplinary meetings and rounds, special hospital events, and support groups.
- Completion of assignments including weekly readings and journals, case presentation, and a major project.
- Regularly scheduled opportunities for verbal and written evaluation and intern support.