The following are frequently asked questions with corresponding answers regarding the Internship Readiness Common Application.
Answers have been provided by the Internship Readiness Work Group and ACLP Board of Directors representatives.
This is absolutely something that is being considered throughout many different committees within ACLP. So we are certainly looking at the dates and trying to really consider every stakeholder perspective here and think about dates that will work for candidates, candidates in academic programs, candidates not in academic programs, as well as for the internship sites who are receiving these applications, reviewing them, but also onboarding interns during their semester cycles. So it's complicated, but we are certainly looking at it and will hopefully have some information soon.
The primary information evidence was our conversations with each other and with our colleagues. From that very first think tank when we were having discussions centered around what are the experiences of students with expansive academics and clinical sites and we continued to utilize that as a starting point. We also utilized a psychometric service and did a validation study, once we had developed the internship readiness KSAs to validate that we were on track. An outline of the history of the development of the KSA is also on the internship readiness page on childlife.org.
The Internship Readiness Work Group is focused on the Internship Readiness Common Application. This application is not intended for practicums.
It is important to support applicants for whom English is a second language. It is our hope to gain insight about any barriers the new common application may present to different stakeholder groups through data collection in March 2023. We remain open to any suggestions you might have on how to best support this group.
Regardless of affiliation agreements, our hope is that all programs use the new application as it represents a fair, equitable and inclusive process for each stakeholder involved along the pathway to the child life profession.
We will collect feedback/data via stakeholder surveys, listening sessions, and other avenues starting in March 2023. The data and assessment will be communicated via email, social media, and the ACLP website.
We did not request any additional information outside of the application so that we could truly test the application and the information we were getting from it. Our site we received around 65 applications I believe, and we narrowed that down to about half after we scored it and we did many phone interviews where we asked for questions that involved the KSAs that we felt were very important for us to know more information about from the applicants. And from there we then narrowed it down to another smaller group where we did zoom interviews that were much longer and looking for the best intern for us. So it was very similar to our current or old process. The biggest work for us was developing the rubric to grade the new applications on and that is still a work in progress. I'll be honest, it felt a little bit intimidating at first, but with the resources and the conversations we've had around it and the work we've done as a work group now, it proved we ended up with really strong candidates. So through the interview and the application, it worked for us and I'm very excited about the future with this application.
While an effort was made by pilot sites to collect feedback from staff who participated in the pilot application and do not serve on the Internship Readiness Work Group, we acknowledge that bias exists within the feedback from pilot programs. Data was also collected from applicants post-application submission and no applicants are work group members. We look forward to gathering more information from all stakeholders in the transition to the Internship Readiness Common Application.
Not currently. It is up to the clinical sites. If there are courses in-progress, registration will be visible on students’ unofficial transcript(s).
As an academic, I am excited about how I can use the KSAs in my curriculum. I often get asked by students, “Well what do I need to do to get an internship?” To be honest, before, I didn’t have a concrete answer- a general answer of GPA, experience with well children, x number of practicum hours, and the ability to answer questions about child life. The KSAs give students a concrete answer to work towards. Students now know if I want to be internship ready, these are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that I need to demonstrate in my application.
As an academic, I plan to incorporate it into assignments. For example, during the first few classes of the semester asking students what all they did last summer and saying well let’s look at the KSAs and discuss where that learning fits into internship readiness. Those are a few examples of how the academic curriculum connects to internship readiness.
I listened carefully to our clinical colleagues, and they shared that the letters are often not a helpful or comprehensive source of information regarding an applicant's experiences or readiness for an internship. I also listened carefully to my colleagues who participated in this work group when they shared that it's become increasingly difficult and time consuming for applicants to gather these letters. So, removing the letter of recommendation then decreases the time commitment for reviewers, for academics, as well as for applicants. The truth is, as academics if we've done our job well, and provided our students with a solid academic experience that facilitated critical thinking and created opportunities for students to intentionally make meaningful connections between their academic experiences and their field based learning opportunities, then they should be able to shine all on their own through their application process. After all, that's the bigger picture goal, right? We're hopeful that by eliminating the recommendation, it creates a greater focus for sites to really read into what applicants are choosing to include in their application instead of having to read into letters of recommendation.
ACLP has paused the endorsement of academic programs. The Academic Excellence Task Force is gathering information on the best way to recognize high quality academic programs with the mindset of addressing problems identified in the current endorsement program. Therefore, discussions about how the Common Application would fit into endorsements are limited due to this pause. However, if endorsement or another process for recognizing quality academic programs is continued, they will have the conversation with recognition of the importance of giving academic programs time to meet any changes that may come about. Related to endorsement. There have been several questions regarding how the students from endorsed programs submit eligibility assessments as part of the application. During the pilot study, we noticed that students from endorsed programs were attaching a variety of things as part of the eligibility assessment. So, one of the next items that the internship readiness work group will be working on is to give better directions as to what students from endorsed programs should be attaching for the eligibility assessment component.
Not currently. As a part of the application students affirm that the information provided is accurate.
At this point. We're unsure of the impact on the number of applications that will be received by clinical sites, so all we can really share today is what our pilot sites noticed during the pilot period. The average number of applications was 64. Two of the sites said that was typical for them and one site did say that was a few more. I don't want to make assumptions. But in case this question is driven by concern around time spent reviewing applications, I did want to also highlight that all three pilot sites agreed that the amount of time to review each application was significantly reduced.
The rubric resource is being developed as a reference guide for clinical internship sites to utilize to develop their own evaluation tool. The goal is for evaluation at clinical internship sites to suit the needs of each program and help them select a candidate who will ultimately be successful in their specific internship. I want to make it very clear, the rubric resource is not going to be a one size fits all templates that we're all utilizing to evaluate the same applications. We would all land on the same candidates and that would not be the direction that we're trying to go. Instead, we want to give suggestions for clinical internship sites on how to consider the content that they're reviewing. And we want to give prompts around where programs can have dialogue about where potential biases might be built into evaluations.
I'll give some anecdotal feedback as a pilot site. We made it very evident on our web page (where students had to navigate to submit the Internship Readiness Common Application) some of those components that we were looking for. We want each clinical site to make some determinations, and then make it clear for candidates, what they will be evaluated on. We want to make sure that the Internship Readiness Common Application captures all the information that clinical sites will evaluate and so from the candidate and clinical site perspectives it is a uniform process. Then the next step of evaluation will be that deep dive and where some differentiation will fall.
It's hard for us to know how hospitals will respond and what will be frowned upon. I appreciate the question. But as it stands right now, there are times when eligibility assessments are not complete, and I don’t think it’s frowned upon.
We recognize as the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee (IAOC) that some of the new features of the Internship Readiness Common Application do not align with the accreditation standards. And those are going to be reviewed. The IAOC is initiating a review of the accreditation standards and will be forthcoming with more information.
It's very important to call out that there is more than one question within the application. This one is talking about which element from the KSAs you most want to grow and learn about during your internship. That is one of five questions currently included in the written response section of the application. The instructions for the written response section encourages applicants to consider the entire list of KSAs and asks the candidates to make the connections to all the answers in the written responses. And so, your question only highlights the prompt that names the KSAs, but in the instructions above the written responses, it asks the candidates to consider all the KSAs in the responses.
I don't know if that's something that we've talked about. But I imagine that is something that we can take back to the group as we continue to listen to all of this feedback and provide resources and materials that will make this a successful launch and ensure that programs are finding internship ready candidates. Also remember, sites have recommended curriculum modules that they're using to help guide the training during the internships experience. The internship KSA is our framework to help determine if a candidate is ready to start their internship on day one. So yes, it's important for the review and selection process, but in terms of clinical training, there are internship curriculum modules that help guide that training.
Update your website to guide applicants through the new process. The internship readiness guide that has been developed as a resource has some really great language and kind of step-by-step instructions so we actually just linked directly to that for people that were considering applying to our internship. I would also recommend doing a deep dive into all the other resources that are available. When the rubric resource becomes available, that's another piece that internship sites can consider sharing with their potential applicants about how they are approaching the internship readiness common application. Please also see our Tips for Internship Sites: Accepting Electronic Applications.
Right now, the application has three tasks that have to be completed and that is the application portion, the upload of the eligibility assessment, and then the upload of the unofficial transcript(s). Beyond that, with the requirements, again, we are putting a lot of control in the applicants hands to look at the KSAs to examine their own preparation and to be able to demonstrate and showcase how all of that's connected to their growth and development in the field of child life. So right now, there's no feature on the online application that would eliminate anyone in terms of the requirements. But this is a process. As you can tell by all the questions that are still rolling in, there are a lot of questions and concerns about the transition. And really what I can tell you is that we continue to be open to receiving feedback, and we are open to making changes to maximize this application.
The Internship Readiness KSAs provides a framework outlining what is expected of aspiring professionals to learn about the child life profession by the start of the clinical internship experience. Each component of the Internship Readiness Common Application aligns with one or more KSAs. Applicants are asked to use critical thinking skills to connect the information presented throughout the application with the KSAs, specifically within the written responses section. Each of the 5 written responses presents an opportunity for applicants to showcase their knowledge of the child life profession by making clear links from the examples they describe to the KSAs. Therefore, internship sites are able to assess internship readiness by evaluating which experiences the applicant choses to describe and how well those experiences were connected to the Internship Readiness KSAs.
Yes, moving into 2023 we are continuing to collect feedback/data via stakeholder surveys, listening sessions, and other avenues. We will take all feedback into consideration and make adjustments as needed.
A single PDF that includes the eligibility assessment, the transcripts, and the completed application.
By having applicants select only six experiences, it encourages quality over quantity of experiences. It standardizes the application. It decreases the time commitment for reviewers. It also has learners use critical thinking skills to really decide which of the experiences they've had truly helped prepare them the best for their internship.
The ACLP website has a direct link to the internship readiness webpage that has tons of information about the process that we've been trying to share with you with these town halls, but then also the resources that the work group has been developing. In my opinion, the most important resource for an applicant is going to be the internship readiness KSAs document. Yes, it's new but it's also a very important framework for applicants to become familiar with and to really help that help guide them in the completion of the internship readiness application itself. There's also a guide that walks applicants through each step of the application and tasks that needed to be completed. There's also a video that helps walk through the application as well. Some other resources that the work group has published include the language associated with the Internship Readiness Common Application. That document provides some definitions, some clarity, for language that appears within the common application that again, might be new. Those are some important resources for applicants to reference.
That is correct. There is no minimum number of hours required as part of the new application.
You have up to up to six experiences that you can include, but they would be separate experiences if they are from two different hospitals. Really the decision is up to you on and whether both of them are really relevant to your growth and development and can help you demonstrate, highlight, and showcase the internship readiness KSAs. If you feel strongly that both of those separate experiences can do that, then include them both.
One of the things that we've really, really, really looked at in the work group was how do we make child life more accessible and break out of the traditional, very small boxes of experience that we've been asking for from students for a long time? Because we recognize that there are many different avenues to gain experience working with children and families. So an experience can encompass any interaction that you have with a family in a professional capacity or a volunteer capacity. If you can speak to it and how it's prepared you according to the KSAs, it can be included as an experience. We really want to leave it up to the applicant to be able to showcase their experiences in a way that the application currently doesn't do.
Applicants distinguish between experiences within healthcare settings and outside of healthcare settings. For definitions of these terms, please reference the Language Association with the Internship Readiness Common Application resource.
Applicants are asked to make a choice about which of their experiences are most relevant to the field of child life and how those experiences best showcase the applicant’s growth and development of the KSAs. Critical thinking skills are needed to understand how the KSAs are present or are applied within each hands on or field experience.
The quality of experiences is more valuable than the quantity of hours completed. Consider the meaningful interactions that took place within that time. What was observed of child life staff and how did those professionals build relationships? Focus on finding the most pertinent experiences during the hours spent in a given setting and write about those.
Do not discount or discredit any exposure or experience with young people and families as they all can be valuable. Reflect on all pre-internship experiences, review the Internship Readiness KSAs, and incorporate those experiences into the application. Each experience offers the opportunity for gaining knowledge and perspective. When applicants are able to apply experiences to the child life profession, they are able to showcase their understanding of the child life role in healthcare to internship programs.
The narrative that applicants provide is in response to the description and role responsibility prompts in the experience section. There is not an additional narrative in the experience section, applicants can choose to reference those experiences in the written responses in the next section of the application. It is important to talk about what the applicant has actually done during the experience, rather than giving generic information (“these are all the units I was on” and “these are the assignments I have completed”). That type of information can still hold value, but it is important to show an internship coordinator, who does not know the applicant at all, what has been observed and accomplished.
Another term for “non-specific language” is “blinded” language. Please use non-specific language so there is no possible bias added by naming which specific institution applicants received training or where applicants are located in the country. Therefore, it is preferred to describe locations, academic institutions, and hospitals by describing the size and setting without using identifying information.
It is important to use critical thinking when completing the Internship Readiness Common Application as well as during interviews. What really sets candidates apart is their ability to tie whatever they have been exposed to or experienced or thought out into their continued growth and development as an aspiring child life professional. Individuals who can verbalize how they are committed to continual learning, why they are ready to complete an internship, and what they can bring to the profession of child life appear to navigate interview questions successfully.
Typically, pre-internship experiences should be observational experiences where aspiring professionals can witness a child life specialist in practice. There seems to be a concern that something is missing from the experience if applicants do not have hands-on work during pre-internship experiences. However, this is not the case. Internships are intended to be the main source of clinical training. Practicums are not mini-internships.
There is so much to take in while serving in that observational role and it is not a passive role. Applicants might not have an active role in the interaction but should be making connections with coursework and other pre-internship experiences to what is unfolding in front of them. Applicants should realize how much work they are doing during observations and how they are creating learning experiences for themselves. And then demonstrate that learning and those observation skills in the written responses.
What the ACLP was hoping to achieve with the Internship Readiness Common Application is the ability to create an application that was more open, inclusive, and encompassing of all different experiences. For those who might have a traditional practicum, great, include that information and reflect on those experiences. But for those who do not, those individuals still have lots of great experiences that partner really well with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be internship ready.
Yes. The documentation of the experiences section still has a question of how many hours were completed as well as a start date and end date.
It is possible some internship programs prefer to use non-specific language but that is more likely to be a site-specific requirement. Programs should provide guidance when scheduling interviews or applicants can ask that question if guidance is not provided.
No. There is a word limit to how much can be written in those sections. Therefore, references are not expected to be incorporated.
It is really about what the applicant feels best connects to the knowledge, skills, and abilities for internship readiness. If there was an incredible experience during volunteer work and the applicant feels it demonstrates a personal understanding of DEI or of health disparities, then go for it and use that experience from volunteering.
If an applicant saw something that was relatable to one of the other comprehension skills in the KSAs during a pre-internship experience, then go ahead and pull that in. Applicants can draw from all the different aspects of up to six experiences. Applicants do not have to weigh anything more heavily than another. It is about how an applicant connects observations and interactions to the knowledge, skills, and abilities.