Child Life Services Practicum Placement Process and Requirements Summer Session

Northwestern Medicine is a highly sought organization for students to obtain practicum hours. We are pleased that you are interested in the Child Life Practicum at Northwestern Medicine, which serves as a way to empower and equip students on their journey to become child life interns and professionals.

Practicum students will have the opportunity to shadow certified child life specialists and gain exposure to various areas of Northwestern Medicine that may include site visits at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Proton Center and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Northwestern Medicine. Practicum students will engage in hands-on learning as they initiate therapeutic activities in the playroom and at bedside with pediatric patients and siblings.

Application Information

Applications open: October 15
Application deadline: December 15
Practicum offer date: First week in February

Application Checklist:

Step 1: Send the Verification of Experience form (PDF) to each of your supervisor(s)/coordinator(s) to complete. You will need to attach the completed form(s) to your Online Application form.
Step 2: Send the Recommendation form (PDF) to three of your professional references to complete. You will need to attach the completed Recommendation forms to your Online Application form.
Step 3: Complete all the fields on the Online Application form and attach the following documents:

Contact information:
630.933.7259 (TTY: 711)

Practicum goals and objectives

  • Gain insight and exposure to the child life profession through observation of clinical interventions
  • Observe interactions with patients on a one-to-one basis and in group situations
  • Gain an initial acquaintance with the needs of hospitalized children and their families
  • Develop assessment skills and therapeutic play skills
  • Complete readings and assignments that encourage the application of child development theories
  • Develop professional attitudes, growth, maturity and judgment by functioning in a professional environment

Practicum schedule

The practicum student is required to complete a five-week practicum with a minimum of 100 hours from June to July. Part-time hours will vary each week, with occasional evening and weekend shifts. The student will gain exposure to various inpatient and outpatient pediatric areas with weekly and biweekly rotations.

Practicum responsibilities (other responsibilities may also be required)

  • Shadow certified child life specialists
  • Observe medical play and procedural preparation and support
  • Create and implement therapeutic activities
  • Complete readings, assignments and a mini-project
  • Promote developmental play with supervision

Student requirements

  • Have at least sophomore status or have completed the second year of college or university in a related field with applicable coursework (non-affiliated students will also be considered)
  • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Have at least 50 hours of experience working with children or adolescents (hospital experience beneficial)
  • Commit to learning and advancing knowledge of child life in a hospital setting