What is a child life practicum at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan (CHM)?
A practicum is an introduction to the role of a child life specialist. A practicum student learns the importance of play and how to interact and build relationships with patients and their families in a hospital setting. The practicum consists of planning
and facilitating creative projects for patients in the activity centers, providing bedside interactions for patients, and observing Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS).
How many hours is a practicum?
120 hours; 10 hours per week for 12 weeks
What is expected of a practicum student?
Be motivated to learn
Complete all assignments in a timely manner
Document your hours
Provide bedside sessions/interactions with patients
Observe child life specialists
Plan and facilitate weekly activities for the activity centers
Attend weekly meetings with practicum supervisors
Complete weekly journals
Complete a special project
What is the weekly breakdown of CHM’s practicum?
Three hours in the activity centers
Three hours doing bedside activities
Three hours shadowing a child life specialist
One hour meeting with supervisors
After I complete a practicum at CHM, can I continue to volunteer there?
Yes, it is encouraged.
What is the difference between a practicum and an internship?
Children’s Hospital of Michigan’s (CHM) practicum is 120 hours opposed to an internship which is a minimum of 480 hours. An internship is full time (40 hours/week). Practicum students have observation opportunities; whereas, internships offer
hands-on experiences allowing students to learn and facilitate clinical assessment and intervention skills. An internship also consists of several rotations and documentation of patient interactions. Internships are offered internationally. Most internships
require volunteer hours before applying.
How will a practicum benefit me in the future?
The experience you gain in a practicum will prepare you for your internship by increasing your comfort level of working in a hospital setting and with hospitalized children and their families. Practicum students begin to assess various developmental and
ability levels, are able to choose age appropriate toys/activities, and learn how to work with the interdisciplinary team. The experience will also help you determine whether child life is the field for you and obtain volunteer hours that are necessary
to apply for internships.