Internship readiness necessitates collaboration and integrity amongst many stakeholders in the child life community. About a third of the work group members were academic child life professionals. They brought their knowledge of child life academic preparation to this project. For example, if you look at the KSA 2.04, it says “Knowledge of child development and how each developmental stage is impacted by illness, stress, and hospitalization.” A student could develop this KSA from their child development and child life courses. Also, the language of the KSAs is realistic for what a student can obtain in an academic setting. For example, KSA 1.02 says, “awareness of the Child Life Code of Ethics.” This means that the expectation is that an emerging professional has been exposed and familiarized with the Child Life Code of Ethics- not the expectation that they are skilled at applying it in daily practice. Academics have the opportunity to introduce students to the Child Life Code of Ethics by requiring it as a reading or helping them begin to be aware of the principles through ethical scenarios. As a sample to the working group’s conversation, if you look at KSA 1.03, it reads “exposure to how theory and evidence guide child life practice.” During this conversation, we asked ourselves what types of courses or experience would support this development. We discussed the requirement for child development and family systems courses which would provide exposure to theories, and we discussed the requirement of the research course which would expose students to critically reviewing research to use studies as evidence to support practices.
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.