Endless halls of echoing coughs, sobs, and the occasional moan are many of the normal sounds heard in a hospital. No wonder so many adults fear going to the hospital.
But, imagine a sick or injured child being admitted to a hospital. Their fear is ten times that of an adult. They don’t understand why they are there or what is going on.
Lucky, The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University helps prepare students for a career where they can explain to children and parents why they are at the hospital.
“Many times when we go into the children’s [hospital] rooms, they don’t understand why they are there,” says Danielle Ray, a senior in Human Development Studies and Child Life. “It becomes our responsibility to explain in layman’s terms what illnesses they have. We use playdoh, a medical doll or some other form of arts and crafts to try and help the children understand why they are there.”
With the help of these service workers, children and parents are better able to understand what the doctor are talking about when they use complicated technical jargon.
“We have to take medical terminology classes,” says Ray. “This allows us to be able to translate the complex terms that doctors use.”
Ray, along with the other members of her major act as mediators between children and their doctors who use way to big of words for a small child to understand.
“I knew that I really wanted to be in this major at the beginning of my junior year,” says Ray. “I wanted to be in a major where I could help children everyday, and this major allows me to do that.”
Being apart of the Human Development Studies and Child Life major is very time consuming. Before a student can have an internship they must complete a 90 hour practicum at a hospital under a certified child life specialist.
“I did my practicum at Baptist South in Montgomery,” says Ray. “While I was completing my practicum, I actually created a Band-Aid drive; and what this drive did was allow people to donate cute Dora or Finding Nemo Band-Aids to the hospital because it could not afford fun Band-Aids.”
Ray is happy with her major choice and is looking forward to working with children on a daily basis once she graduates in May.
“I would love to work with Saint Jude,” says Ray. “They help so many children on a daily basis, and it would mean so much to me if I ever received that opportunity.”