The 'lightbulb' moment

Brittany Spaeth 06

In her own words, Brittany Spaeth '06, Child Life Coordinator at University Health Care, discusses her experiences at Utica College and how they prepared her for a career helping children.

 

I knew that I had wanted to work with children and finding out that I could do that in a hospital/medical setting was very interesting to me.

The Psychology - Child Life program at UC really did help prepare me for being in the professional world, especially being a child life specialist. The program was so comprehensive and I was very grateful to have all of these different experiences. I felt I was very prepared for a lot of what I was seeing in my professional life. Some of the specific classes at UC, like children and hospitals, were so pertinent. Being in the role I’m in now, I have worked with other child life students who just don’t have as much comprehensive knowledge as what we gained from those classes.

When we did our field work in Intro to Child Life and shadowed the child life specialist, one of the things we did was help explain things to kids about being in the hospital. For example, we would explain getting an IV and what that entails. I remember just watching the child life specialist explain the IV to a patient and realizing that I had no idea how an IV worked, what it did, or what it was for. I can barely remember the child’s reaction, but I can remember my own light bulb going off, going 'Oh! That’s how it works.'
 
That’s one of those moments where it all kinds of came together for me - like, oh, that’s why she’s here explaining this, so that people can have experiences like I just had. So that they really don’t have to be worried about it. But having that opportunity and being able to observe that child life specialist before my internship really gave me an advantage and helped me to know what to expect before going into my internship. It’s like stepping into the shoes of the people you’ll be working with.
 
I refer to that as my lightbulb moment. I actually tell this story when I do in-services at Cooper University Hospital.

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