Child Life – Internship Program

About Child Life Therapy

ACLP seal

A child life therapist is a specially trained professional who helps children and their families understand and manage challenging life events and stressful health care experiences. Therapists hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, human development, psychology, child life and other related fields. They must pass an exam to obtain certified child life specialist certification. Child life therapists also help with communication between patients and families and the medical staff.
Norton Children’s Child Life staff members are part of the health care team at Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Children’s Medical Center and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. They can help your family in the following ways:

  • Minimize fears and stress experienced by children, adolescents and families as related to health care experiences
  • Teach patients and families about procedures and surgeries
  • Provide techniques for pain management and relaxation as well as help improve coping skills
  • Help create a comfortable environment for patients
  • Promote patient- and family-centered care
  • Support and help distract patients and families during medical procedures
  • Give tours of the hospital before surgery
  • Encourage socialization in a fun and safe environment
  • Use medical play to encourage expression of feelings
  • Offer pet therapy programs (with some restrictions)
  • Plan special community-oriented visits and events
  • Provide coping techniques and education for patients’ siblings
  • Provide end-of-life and bereavement support
  • Support and teach children of adult patients

About Child Life Therapy Program

Child life therapists at Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Children’s Medical Center and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital offer a maximum 640-hour child life internship experience. Internships begin in January and August, and accept up to two candidates at a time. All interns complete two rotations at Norton Children’s Hospital, and the remaining rotation at either Norton Children’s Medical Center or Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

Students may apply by reviewing the internship prerequisites below and submitting an application, resume, official transcripts and letters of recommendation by the application deadlines. Interns need only submit one application for consideration for all sites.

For questions, contact:

  • Heather Stohr, M.S., CCLS, Manager of Child Life & Expressive Therapies, (502) 559-4610, (502) 629-7022
Applicant prerequisites

Applicants must:

  • Be working toward a degree in child life, child development, psychology, early childhood education or a related field.
  • Be college seniors or graduate level students in their final semester, and must be affiliated with a college or university
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0
  • Have earned A’s and B’s in all relevant child life coursework
  • Have 100 documented hours of experience with well infants, children, youths and/or families
  • Have 100 documented hours of experience with infants, children, youths and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings and/or programs designed for children with special needs
  • Have 100 documented hours of child life practicum under the direct supervision of a CCLS
  • Have completed the academic course work portion of the Child Life Council eligibility assessment
  • Have successfully completed child life coursework inclusive of the six applied areas of study, as required by the child life council

Three core child life texts must be read before the internship begins:

  1. “Child Life in Hospitals: Theory and Practice” by Richard H. Thompson
  2. “Psychosocial Care of Children in Hospitals: A Clinical Practice Manual from the ACCH Child Life Research Project” by Laura Gaynard, et al.
  3. The third text may be any approved resource listed on the Child Life Council website
Internship expectations
  • Work 16 weeks (640 hours maximum) full time with possible weekends; no holidays are required.
  • Assignments include but are not limited to: completing and presenting a project, case studies, daily journals, article summaries and child life council learning module assignments.
  • Weekly meetings with clinical internship supervisor and clinical internship coordinator
  • Formal evaluations will be completed at the completion of each rotation, along with a midterm and final evaluation.
Possible rotation experiences
  • Antepartum/labor and delivery
  • Adult intensive care unit
  • Emergency
  • General pediatrics
  • Hematology/oncology/renal (adult or pediatrics)
  • Medical/surgical
  • Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
  • Radiology
  • Surgery
Child Life Council application deadlines

Fall semester (August to December)

March 15

Spring semester (January to May)

Sept. 5

Application

To be considered for an internship with Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Children’s Medical Center and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, all students must meet the prerequisites and submit the following documents:

  1. Child Life Common Internship Application Form 
  2. Resume
  3. Three letters of recommendation, with at least one from a direct supervisor in a health care setting
  4. Official college transcripts
  5. Eligibility assessment report from the Child Life Council, verifying 10 required courses and one course taught by a CCLS. Confirmation of Course In-Progress may be included if required course is not complete at time of application
  6. Documentation of 100 hours of experience with well infants, children, youths and/or families
  7. Documentation of 100 hours of experience with infants, children, youths and/or families in stressful situations, health care settings and/or programs designed for children with special needs
  8. Documentation of 100 hours of child life practicum experience under the direct supervision of a CCLS. Hours must be completed by start of internship. May submit Confirmation of Practicum In-Progress if hours are not complete at the time of application
  9. Verification of enrollment in a college/university throughout internship

Norton Children’s Hospital
Child Life and Expressive Therapies Department
Attn: Heather Stohr
231 E. Chestnut St., N-38
Louisville, KY 40202

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