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Child Life


Child life specialist talking to surgery patient

​​​​​​​​​​​Boys Town National Research Hospital strives to create the best care environment for our patients. Our Child Life Specialists work with the medical staff and caregivers of the patients to help alleviate fears and anxieties a child may experience during hospitalization. They identify potential sources of stress, provide accurate and age-appropriate information to the patient and family members and work with the child to plan and practice coping strategies. By combining play and education, Child Life Specialists are able to explain medical procedures and diagnoses in a way that children of all ages can understand.

Meet Our Child Life Specialists


What We Do

To meet the needs of our patients and families, the Boys Town Child Life team provides:

  • Therapeutic and recreational play activities to help make the hospital feel more normal
  • Medical education, preparation and sensory explanations using
    • Medical Play - using actual medical equipment the child may encounter during his/her stay to help normalize those tools for them
    • Hospital and surgery tours
    • Procedural and diagnoses teaching (IVs, NGs, EEG, Crohn’s/Colitis, etc.)
  • Planning and implementing coping strategies
    • Distraction
    • Deep Breathing
    • Non-pharmacological pain management techniques
  • Support from siblings and other family members such as special events
    • Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, car seat events

Our Child Life Specialists are professionals who have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in a child development-related field and specialize in the social, emotional and developmental aspects, as well as how to cope with a visit to the hospital.

A Note to Parents

It is important to remember that your child notices your verbal and nonverbal signals. Before you begin to talk to your child about his/her upcoming medical experience, talk with your child’s doctor about your child’s condition or procedure so you are familiar with as much information as possible. ​The more you understand, the more time you will have to support your child and focus on his/her needs and questions.

Always remember, if you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact a Boys Town Child Life Specialist ​at (531) 355‑6040.


A child life wish list has been added to AmazonSmile. This will help supplement our budgetary constraints. If you cannot see this list you may need to enter "Boys Town Hospital" in the search.


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Child Life Practicum Offering

Child life specialists are key players in ensuring a child's emotional safety during treatment and hospitalization. By combining play and education, we provide support to patients and families to help minimize the stress and anxiety of the health care environment.  Here at Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH), our child life department is committed to providing quality education and training to future child life specialists.

Practicum experiences are designed to give students the opportunity to gain insight into the child life profession, exposure to the hospital environment, and help students understand the unique needs of hospitalized children. Students in our facility will have an opportunity to observe child life specialists in both inpatient and outpatient settings and will get hands-on experience with children at bedside. Practicum students will acquire 150 hours over 6 weeks, Monday – Thursday.

  • To be considered for the child life practicum, you will need to meet the following criteria:

    • Be enrolled as a current student at the Junior level or beyond
    • Must have a minimum of 100 hours of paid and/or volunteer experience interacting with children.
    • Applicants must have completed 4 of the 10 Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP)-required courses with a final passing grade or as “in progress" on the unofficial academic transcript. Courses required prior to applying for our practicum include:
      • Child development course
      • Play course
      • Child life course

    Please visit the ACLP webpage​ for more detailed information about required courses and eligibility for the Child Life Certification examination.

  • Please click here to complete the online practicum application.

    Within the online application, you will need to attach:

    • Current one page resume
    • Unofficial University transcripts from all universities attended

    In addition to the online application, two reference forms are required to be submitted.

    • One recommendation form must be from an academic professor
    • One recommendation form must be from an individual who has observed your work with children.

    Please send the link of the online reference recommendation form to the people that will be completing form. Recommendation forms should be received by the application due date.

    Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH) follows the Association of Child Life Professionals' (ACLP) internship application deadlines as well as the offer and acceptance dates.

  • After applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified via email on the status of their application and if a short phone screen is being requested. Once phone screens have been completed, interviews will be scheduled with the practicum committee. All interviews will be conducted via WebEx and will be arranged by the practicum coordinator.

** All students completing a Child Life Practicum at Boys Town National Research Hospital must be fully vaccinated, including the COVID vaccine, prior to their start date **



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