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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 307A
Category: Health Care


As a member of a health care team, perform professional and age-appropriate psychosocial
services to children and their families and teach/consult with staff working with pediatric
patients to enhance the experience of care.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Under general supervision, facilitate age-appropriate interactions, increase effective
patient/family coping and promote optimal development of hospitalized children and the
children of hospitalized adults; provide child life services using specialized skills, including
assessment, treatment program planning, and implementation.

Typical Work

Works with infants, toddlers, children, teenagers, and families in providing support and teaching coping skills through play, preparation, education, and self-expression activities to help them better understand the diagnosis, the processes, procedures, or any element of their medical experience;

Creates care plans based on the diagnosis and medical issues impacting stay, assessment of the child’s current developmental stage, temperament, coping style, culture, spirituality, potential stressors, patient and family needs, and social supports;

Provides individual and group counseling to help families under the stress of hospitalization, illness, or death;

Serves as a resource to other disciplines in the developmental needs of pediatric and adolescent populations; attend patient care rounds including pediatric and burn rounds;

Collaborates with other disciplines, as appropriate, to coordinate continuity of patient care from admission to discharge;

Documents evaluation, intervention, strategies for treatment, and recommendations in online medical records;

Assists with the pediatric program development and outreach;

May provide feedback to educational program;

May direct, train, and supervise the work of Child Life students; may provide feedback to students on progress, establish learning objectives, and evaluate student performance;

May train volunteers or direct their clinically appropriate activities;

Performs other duties as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: medical terminology - child life specialists should understand medical terminology to help families understand illnesses and answer questions they have about their situations; child development - when helping children during medical crises, child life specialists consider the child's cognitive and emotional development to provide age-appropriate explanations and therapies; counseling techniques such as individual and family talk therapy to help children and families cope with trauma; disease process, precautions, typical medical treatment and diagnostic procedures, functional abilities, complications, and implications of long-term deficits related to primary diagnoses; developmental stages and their effects on hospitalizations.

Ability to: evaluate and assess patients ages 0-18 years (and adults with developmental delays placing them at a developmental age between 0-18) with a variety of complex and multiple medical issues; communicate clearly orally and in writing; manage conflicts within families; listen to problems and understand emotions.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certifications. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree and certification as a Child Life Specialist.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.

Class Specification History

New classification: Child Life Specialist, class code: 307A; adopted May 8, 2024; effective May 16, 2024.