If there’s one quality that every child life specialist should have – it’s creativity; whether that takes the form of decor and education for the unit, arts and crafts activities for patients, or quick and creative solutions to problems – it is an absolute must!
One of my favorite ways of expressing my creativity is through the use of bulletin boards. I do my research (on Pinterest usually) and then begin the process of creating the boards. It’s usually a lengthier process so I have to try and pick the best day possible to begin working on a new one (i.e., when I have several volunteers to help the patients stay busy on the unit and I know there aren’t any procedures happening or in the works). Here are a few I’ve completed over the years + some I’ve completed as a school child life specialist in the community!
*Please know that most of these bulletin boards are NOT my original thought and are taken from online articles/handouts/or bulletin boards I’ve seen created on Pinterest. I am working at being more vigilant about where I’m obtaining my information from so I will include the links if possible.*
This was super uplifting for our Pediatric/Pediatric Intensive Care Units. It was placed down a hallway that only staff were allowed down and was placed on the way to the elevators; perfect location for those coming and going before and after their shifts. An example would be as simple as, “Thank you Wendy for grabbing that puke bucket at the PERFECT moment. Saved us from quite the mess! You’re the best” Then Wendy would leave work and see the nice note and it was good feelings for everyone involved!
This one was placed at the front for patients and families leaving the Pediatric unit serving as a reminder during flu season! Minions drawn by hand by me!
This one offered families helpful tips for toy shopping during the Christmas season as well as what toys are potentially dangerous giving statistics, data, and research articles
This was placed down in the main entrance of the hospital (a children’s hospital inside of an adult hospital so there’s lots of opportunities for child life throughout the hospital). I highlighted all of the areas we currently “go” and where we will go!
These were several done on the Pediatric Unit –
“Lessons from Pixar,” which focused on all of the moral and life lessons that Pixar movies give us, “Pediatric ABCs” which provided helpful tips such as “Reduce, Reuse Recycle” for the letter R and “Zipping Up Your Jacket When It Gets Cold” for the letter Z. and “Beat The Things That Bug You” provided tips for stress management for our staff.
This was utilized on our unit for patients, families, and new staff to see our child life team and a couple of fun facts about each of us as well as what the role of a child life specialist consists of and how to contact us!
Got this idea in the fall after I saw how well our staff enjoyed the Gratitude Graffiti board. This allowed the patients and families to write the staff notes if they wanted to thank anyone specifically or the unit as a whole!
I made this one for child life month. The idea started from a resource I found on Captivated by Child Life’s blog. I then adapted it to include actual “anatomy” parts from the perspective of a child life specialist such as,
Back: muscles strain when standing over a bed and providing distraction and support for lengthy procedures
Eyes: Sees patients as more than just their medical diagnosis
Heart: strings are pulled with patients and families during traumatic experiences
Toes: Tiptoes out of a sleeping baby’s room
I adapted the contents for this bulletin board from NY Time’s Opinion piece about Boredom. It was right outside of the playroom to make families scratch their head a little and allow their children to have fun with their imagination! I promise there’s good stuff waiting for them in the boredom.
Made this back in 2016 when we first began down in our outpatient surgery center. Little reminders about what we can provide patients, staff, and a picture of us and our phone number so they wouldn’t forget our faces!
Some I’ve created while employed as a school Certified Child Life Specialist that could totally be adapted to a hospital setting with a few tweaks include: