"The fellowship at LLUCH has given me the opportunity to enhance my child life skills and become a well-rounded Child Life Specialist. This has been a great blessing for me and my career."
In 2016, Spirit of Children, a program that donates toys, costumes, and gaming systems for patients, funded a Child Life Fellowship position at Loma Linda University Children's Health. This allowed LLUCH to hire a recent Loma Linda University graduate, providing them with a one-year paid experience as an entry-level Child Life Specialist.
The first LLUCH Child Life Fellow, Rachel Kinsinger, was instrumental in creating and facilitating a child life position within the outpatient radiology department, where she then innovated an approach to procedural preparation that resulted in reduced risk, cost, and wait time for pediatric patients completing their MRIs. Child Life Fellows learn skills as Child Life Specialists in all areas of the children's hospital, such as educating for a new diagnosis, preparing children for surgery or procedures, and facilitating new child life positions in areas of the hospital such as radiology, dialysis, and palliative care.
"Last year we were able to hire two Child Life Fellows and collaborate with the Behavioral Medicine Center's Mastering Each New Direction (MEND) program to integrate behavioral health in innovative ways," says Dinah Evans, Director of Child Life and Language Services at LLUCH. "One of our current fellows, Melissa Fatal, is creating and facilitating services for inpatient pediatric patients undergoing diagnostic tests such as MRIs, CT scans, and x-rays."
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