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Child Life in Action: Outpatient Clinic with Jordana Salomon, MS, CCLS

Jordana Salomon, MS, CCLS
Cohen Center for Pediatric Comprehensive Care Clinic at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital

My name is Jordana Salomon, and I have been a Certified Child Life Specialist since August 2021. My journey began on my first day volunteering in a local hospital, where I realized I had found the career path I wanted to pursue. Today, I work with children aged 0-21 and their families at the Cohen Center for Pediatric Comprehensive Care Clinic at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.Jordana receives MVP award

Primarily, I see patients coming for well- and sick visits. However, I support various subspecialty clinics, including aerodigestive, allergy, dermatology, complex care, ENT, gastroenterology, neurology, psychiatry, and urology. My typical day starts with a morning huddle, during which numerous members of interdisciplinary teams request child life services for their patients. Like many outpatient child life specialists, I frequently employ techniques such as “distraction, topical anesthesia, and positions for comfort, ONE VOICE, information/preparation, comforting /reassurance, and positive reinforcement.”[1]                                                                               
After the morning huddle, I convene with my volunteers to offer guidance and assign projects to engage patients in the waiting room. Previous activities have included creating Fourth of July fireworks using pipe cleaners, decorating first-day-of-school picture frames, and constructing a tree of thanks adorned with leaves expressing appreciations in life.

With a daily schedule accommodating 150-200+ children, I meticulously assess and prioritize physician requests and procedures. For instance, I provided procedural support to a 7-year-old female who needed two annual vaccines and venous blood draws. I met with the patient and her family, assessed, and utilized numerous developmentally appropriate techniques to reduce fears and anxieties around blood work and vaccinations. I introduced the patient to medical equipment, described what she would feel, see, and smell, offered choices such as selecting the Band-Aid, and discussed different coping strategies. Due to this intervention, the patient coped well throughout the procedure and experienced a sense of accomplishment upon its conclusion. 

Staff Support facilitated by JordanaAs the clinic serves a constant stream of patients and families, I have observed an increase in compassion fatigue among staff. Consequently, I have collaborated with ambulatory leadership to implement supportive services for staff, including wellness activities, celebrations, and strength sessions.

Special events should not just be for our staff, though. Throughout the year, I implement special events for our patients and families. For example, on Halloween, I created over 100 gift bags, which included developmentally appropriate toys and gifts for patients ages 3+ and handed them out throughout the day. Additionally, we have collaborated with organizations, such as “A Moment of Magic,” to bring the magic of a Princess visitto our patient population. 

Although there is more research on child life specialists in inpatient settings, it is important to recognize the work of outpatient child life specialists. The presence of a child life specialist in an outpatient setting enables children to receive education, preparation, and support throughout their healthcare visit. Outpatient child life specialists play a crucial role in reducing fears and anxieties, shortening procedure times, enhancing coping skills, and increasing patient and family satisfaction. I am so proud to be one of them.

[1] McGinley, T., Maskell, S., & Cantrell, K. (2020). A Systematic Literature Review of Child Life in Ambulatory Settings. Pediatric Annals, 49(11), e491-e498.

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