The job of a child life specialist is to help children and their families navigate the process of injury, illness, trauma, hospitalization, and disability. These health care professionals perform varied duties that include helping children and their families better understand the procedure and process of their medical experience. They also work on developing strategies to lessen the trauma and improve their understanding of a diagnosis by providing support, guidance, and information to family members. They are also expected to work closely with other members of the health care team in coordinating and managing care.

Child Life Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real child life specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Observe activities and respond accordingly including emergency situations such as evacuation, CPR, or first aid.
  • Experience working with kids diagnose with bipolar, schizophrenia, autism, ADHD, depression among other disorders.
  • Provide valuable technical assistance to early childhood educators seeking resources on developing quality childcare environment.
  • Detail knowledge of Medicare and Medicaid programs.
  • Compile monthly statistical data on ADL caseload progress.
  • Exhibit patience, care, and compassion towards others.
  • Develop and star in a surgery preparation video for children.
  • Complete daily documentation, yearly ISP assessment, unit billing.
  • Monitor and supervise DCF youth in a safe home environment.
  • Conduct interviews and train all new hires on ABA methods ,
  • Maintain separate caseload of patients for treatment of intensive ADL issues.
  • Adhere to CCS treatment philosophies and attend team meetings and in-services.
  • Facilitate broad range of supportive interventions with families and patients facing a life-threatening, life-limiting or life-ending illness or injury.
  • Utilize developmentally appropriate language to educate patients and families about diagnoses and procedures in the infectious disease and general pediatrics unit.
  • Prepare children for surgery by using play as an intervention to help them understand their hospital experience.

Child Life Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 25% of Child Life Specialists are proficient in Patients, Child Development, and Patient Care. They’re also known for soft skills such as Organizational skills, Problem-solving skills, and Communication skills.

We break down the percentage of Child Life Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patients, 25%

    Utilized developmentally appropriate language to educate patients and families about diagnoses and procedures in the infectious disease and general pediatrics unit.

  • Child Development, 9%

    Provide education to colleagues on child development issues and age-appropriate interactions.

  • Patient Care, 9%

    Delivered direct patient care to children and families in acute pediatric and hematology/oncology inpatient settings.

  • Child Life Services, 5%

    Provided family-centered child life services to hospitalized children, birth through adolescence in the Emergency Department.

  • Social Work, 5%

    Collaborated effectively with interdisciplinary team members such as Social Work, Chaplaincy, Case Managers, Clinical Advisors and ICU managers.

  • CCLS, 4%

    Collaborated with outpatient hematology/oncology CCLS to provide comprehensive care.

"patients," "child development," and "patient care" aren't the only skills we found child life specialists list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of child life specialist responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a child life specialist to have happens to be organizational skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "social and human service assistants must often complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that child life specialists can use organizational skills to "provide coaching for organizational skills and household management. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform child life specialist duties is the following: problem-solving skills. According to a child life specialist resume, "social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems." Check out this example of how child life specialists use problem-solving skills: "worked with project epic consultant and other project managers on work flow analysis tracked and resolved issues as they arose. "
  • Communication skills is also an important skill for child life specialists to have. This example of how child life specialists use this skill comes from a child life specialist resume, "social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "facilitated communication and collaborated with various local medical and mental health providers, and community partners. "
  • A child life specialist responsibilities sometimes require "compassion." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "social and human service assistants often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations" This resume example shows how this skill is used by child life specialists: "care and compassion are also key traits i bring to the workforce. "
  • Yet another important skill that a child life specialist must demonstrate is "interpersonal skills." Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a child life specialist who stated: "initiate and facilitate daily living skill development groups and interpersonal skill development for homeless and runaway youth residing at the facility. "
  • See the full list of child life specialist skills.

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    What Case Workers Do

    Caseworkers are social workers who watch over the welfare of underprivileged individuals and at-risk families by counseling and providing them with assistance. Usually employed under the government or a local non-profit organization, a caseworker must conduct a thorough interview and house visits to determine the needs of the family. They then refer them to any programs or agencies that can give them the specific care and help needed. Furthermore, it is crucial to identify neglect and abuse signs, reporting them to the authorities right away.

    In this section, we compare the average child life specialist annual salary with that of a case worker. Typically, case workers earn a $13,742 lower salary than child life specialists earn annually.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both child life specialists and case workers positions are skilled in patients, social work, and mental health.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a child life specialist responsibilities require skills like "child development," "patient care," "child life services," and "ccls." Meanwhile a typical case worker has skills in areas such as "substance abuse," "child abuse," "customer service," and "intake assessments." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    On average, case workers reach similar levels of education than child life specialists. Case workers are 1.2% more likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Service Counselor?

    Service counselors provide guidance to couples, individuals, groups, and families who are going through issues that influence their well-being and mental health. They comprehensively approach their clients by utilizing a "wellness" model that focuses on and motivate the client's potentials. Their duties include inspiring clients to talk about their emotions and experiences, helping them determine their action plans and goals, as well as designing therapeutic methods. Also, they may refer their clients to other services or psychologists.

    The next role we're going to look at is the service counselor profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $19,799 lower salary than child life specialists per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of child life specialists and service counselors are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "patients," "social work," and "mental health. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real child life specialist resumes. While child life specialist responsibilities can utilize skills like "child development," "patient care," "child life services," and "ccls," some service counselors use skills like "social services," "substance abuse," "customer service," and "emergency situations."

    In general, service counselors study at similar levels of education than child life specialists. They're 4.0% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Family Support Worker Compares

    A family service worker is a social service agent who assesses the needs of family and promotes wellbeing, social justice, and human rights through governmental and social service agencies. Family service workers offer services that can include counseling and mediation to families that will help them navigate the protocols of the social system. They act as liaisons between families facing problems and different government organizations. Family service workers also ensure that families in need are getting the benefits they are entitled to, as well as help them access various community resources.

    The third profession we take a look at is family support worker. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than child life specialists. In fact, they make a $16,994 lower salary per year.

    While looking through the resumes of several child life specialists and family support workers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "child development," "social work," and "emotional support," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a child life specialist is likely to be skilled in "patients," "patient care," "child life services," and "ccls," while a typical family support worker is skilled in "family support," "family services," "behavior management," and "protective services."

    When it comes to education, family support workers tend to earn similar education levels than child life specialists. In fact, they're 1.2% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Community Support Specialist

    A community support specialist is responsible for supporting and providing care services for citizens with mental health conditions and other medical illnesses. Community support specialists coordinate with organizations and health institutions to generate resources that would help the patients in their daily activities, medications, and treatment plans. They also strategize community events and activities to observe the patients' social and personal behaviors and endorse them to a mental health professional for in-depth examination and counseling.

    The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than child life specialists. On average, community support specialists earn a difference of $15,881 lower per year.

    According to resumes from both child life specialists and community support specialists, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "social work," "emotional support," and "cpr. "

    Even though a few skill sets overlap, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a child life specialist might have more use for skills like "patients," "child development," "patient care," and "child life services." Meanwhile, some community support specialists might include skills like "substance abuse," "direct services," "severe mental illness," and "social services" on their resume.

    Community support specialists reach similar levels of education when compared to child life specialists. The difference is that they're 2.4% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 0.2% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What a Child Life Specialist Does FAQs

    Where Do Child Life Specialists Work?

    There are many places a child life specialist works, such as camps, hospices, and hospitals. Child life specialists at camps often work with families and children that are attending specific camps for people dealing with chronic illness, disease, or cancer. They try to make the time at camp especially happy and memorable for the families.

    In hospice care, child life specialists work with hospice nurses and staff to try to make the family and child comfortable during these difficult times. They may offer up activities or actions the family can do together, such as providing resources for family pictures. This can be an emotionally draining, but inexplicably rewarding career.

    In hospitals, childcare specialists work as the "go-between" between doctors and families. They help to explain diagnosis for families and weigh the pros and cons of specific procedures or treatment plans. They need to work closely with the medical staff and families to be successful.

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