CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS AS PERCEIVED BY HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS (MEDICAL, SOCIOLOGY, OCCUPATION)

LAURA LEE GAYNARD, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Review of child life and health care literature reveals a lack of systematic exploration of the contribution of child life specialists to the health care of child-patients. To date, the literature describing the role of this new health team participant is mainly comprised of anecdotal accounts and descriptive narratives. Although these accounts are valuable to the field of child life, more systematic assessment of the impact of child life specialists on child-patients, families, and health care professionals is indicated. The purpose of the current study was to further explore the role of child life specialists in health care settings. The design for the current study involved the use of the following three measures: (1) a questionnaire distributed to 945 health care professionals affiliated with 21 hospitals in the northeastern United States for the purpose of assessing how the role of child life specialists is perceived by fellow health practitioners; (2) an interview schedule conducted with 27 child life specialists, employed by the hospitals included in the current sample, for the purpose of gathering indepth information on how child life specialists perceive their role and status as members of the health care team; and, (3) observations of four child life specialists affiliated with three of the 21 hospitals, conducted for the purpose of gathering information regarding what child life specialists do with whom on a daily basis. Analyses of questionnaire data revealed that perceptions of the child life role varied as a function of the following variables: health care discipline, sex and age of respondents, amount of contact health care professionals had with child life personnel, and the level of job satisfaction. Observation and interview data were used to interpret, illustrate, and further explore findings of the questionnaire survey. The practical significance of these findings and their relationship to existing literature was discussed.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Health education

Recommended Citation

GAYNARD, LAURA LEE, "CHILD LIFE SPECIALISTS AS PERCEIVED BY HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS (MEDICAL, SOCIOLOGY, OCCUPATION)" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8523416.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8523416

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