The Variations of Healthcare Professionals' Perceptions of Child Life Professionals
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Children are a vulnerable population because of their dependence on others, lack of understanding, and fear related to new experiences. As such, experiencing hospitalization can be especially traumatic for children due to many different factors, such as painful procedures, change in routine, lack of control, and loss of family support (Gaynard, 1998). Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) are able to decrease stress and anxiety related to hospitalization through interventions like procedural preparation and support, therapeutic activities, and play-based education for pediatric patients and their families (Gaynard, 1998; Wojtasik & White, 2009). In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (2006) recommended the role of the CCLS as an essential component of family-centered care in the hospital environment. Through their training in child development, family-systems, and stress and coping support, and their expertise as CCLSs by the Association of Child Life Professionals (2017a), CCLSs are able to adequately respond to the specific psychosocial needs of hospitalized children (Wojtasik & White, 2009). Child life specialists work alongside members of an interdisciplinary team, and depend on collaboration with these team members for awareness of patient needs and knowledge of patient care plans (Brady & Scrivani, 2009; Gaynard, Hausllein, DeMarsh, 1989). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine staff perceptions of the CCLS role among interdisciplinary team members at a freestanding children’s hospital in the southern United States.