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Metro Health

Child Life Practicum and Internships

Child Life Practicum Program

The Child Life Program at Metro Health Hospital is founded on the principles of family centered care and belief in the power of play in the hospital setting. We value the ability to provide educational opportunities about the environment, procedures, coping skills, diagnoses, treatment methods, grief, the importance of play and appropriate development. Through distraction, play and support, we help children overcome the stressors of the medical environment and empower children to have choices and a sense of control.

By taking students, we promote the growth of the field of Child Life while providing individuals with instruction about the various topics of Child Life. Utilizing observation experiences, in-services, readings and assignments, students will gain familiarity with the hospital setting and the Child Life interventions that take place in that setting.

The first practicum at Metro Health Hospital was done in the spring of 2010 and we continue to develop and increase the effectiveness of the program. Practicums, which are intensive job shadows paired with volunteer-type tasks, are offered in the fall, winter/spring and in the summer of each year, but are also subject to staff availability. Practicums are valued experiences as they give students the opportunity to gain insight and experience in the child life profession and promote understanding of the various interventions performed. Schedules, length of practicum and hours accumulated all vary due to needs of the program and the individual student. Students can participate in this experience as part of a school requirement or can participate independent of school requirements. Practicums generally last 10-12 weeks and require approximately 10 hours a week commitment. Readings, journaling and assignments are all a part of the practicum experience.

Practicum Components

Areas of observation

  • Pediatric Inpatient Unit
  • Outpatient Surgery
  • Emergency Department
  • Radiology
  • Supporting children and families of adult patients in various settings
  • Various outpatient clinics

Educational topics

  • Child Development
  • Assessment
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Play
  • Documentation
  • Family Centered Care
  • Grief and Bereavement
  • Boundaries/Ethics


  • To become familiar and oriented to the Child Life profession
  • To develop communication skills with children and families in the health care setting
  • To learn to recognize and understand children’s and adolescent’s reactions to stress, illness and pain
  • To recognize the value of play and psychosocial support interventions
  • To learn how to plan and facilitate a variety of activities for groups of children of diverse ages and capabilities, as well as for individual children or adolescents and then practice these skills in the activity center or at bedside
  • To gain knowledge of medical terminology, diagnoses and procedures
  • To set goals for learning and evaluating own performance
  • To begin to develop professional attitudes, growth, maturity and judgement by functioning as a member of the health care team


  • Volunteer experience with pediatrics in a hospital setting (preferred in a Child Life Department)
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Academic background in areas related to Child Life
    • Child Development
    • Human Growth and Development
    • Child Psychology
    • Family and Consumer Sciences
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Other related fields
  • Five courses that would pass the coursework review by the Child Life Council (see for details and recommendations for courses)
  • Sense of professionalism and maturity that represents the Metro Health Child Life Department

Please include the following items:

  • Completed typed and signed application
  • Official college/university transcripts
  • Resume
  • One professional letter of recommendation and one academic letter of recommendation
  • Documentation of volunteer hours

Mail all items in one packet to:

Child Life Department
Med/Surg/Peds Level 6
Metro Health Hospital
5900 Byron Center Ave
Wyoming, MI 49519

Deadlines and Selection Process
We follow the Child Life Council’s calendar for application deadlines. Application needs to be postmarked by the following dates:
Fall (Sept – Nov) Practicum: Deadline is May 5th
Winter/Spring (Jan – Mar) Practicum: Deadline is Septemberr 5th
Summer (June – Aug) Practicum: Deadline is January 5th

Selection Process:

  • Applications that were appropriately postmarked will be reviewed
    • Selection based on responses to questions, grades, reference letters and experiences
  • Child Life Staff will notify those who have been selected for the next round and will schedule a phone interview
    • Selection based on responses to questions, demeanor and personality
  • Practicum offer will be extended, decline letters will be sent out
  • Volunteer Application, interview with Volunteer Services, background check and volunteer orientation will need to be completed
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