Erika's interests have always been focused on children. Since graduation, she has been a preschool teacher, a Child Life Assistant, and has worked as a Child Life Specialist in a med surg unit, outpatient surgery, radiology, NICU, and oncology.
Child Life Specialists generally work within the hospital setting to promote coping for patients through medical play, developmental play, preparation and education. A 'normal' day for Erika can include bedside visits, distraction during procedures, teaching about a new diagnosis, supporting families during a trauma admission, legacy building and bereavement support. Erika's background knowledge of developmental milestones and needs of children is important when doing her work. Erika states, 'Knowledge of families and family systems, as well as, various cultures, is also valuable, as you are never just working with patients, but also with their siblings, parents, extended family, and community support systems.'
'Take advantage of every resource available to you. If you are looking to become a Child Life Specialist, make sure you gain volunteer experience in a pediatric hospital.'