Phone: (217) 757-6394

Child Life Program Internship

Thank you for your interest in a child life internship at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. We currently have four full-time certified child life specialists and one part-time specialist in pediatrics, surgery, radiology and the emergency departments.

Please review the information listed below thoroughly. If you have further questions, please contact (217) 544-6464, ext. 30594. You may apply for an internship placement by completing the online application form, saving it and emailing it as an attachment to Vanessa Tinkous.

To complete the application process you must mail a copy of your common application, resume and three written references to:
St. John’s Children’s Hospital
Attention Vanessa Tinkous, CCLS, M.Ed.,
800 E. Carpenter St.
Springfield, IL 62769
Please note: Application and all attachments must be received by the application deadline. Please allow extra time for mail delivery. 

We look forward to hearing from you!
Description of the Child Life Program at St. John's Children's Hospital
The program works closely with physicians, nursing staff, social work and other services to meet the needs of our patients. The child life program is a medical based program that focuses on providing procedural preparation, procedural support and education to pediatric patients and their families. In addition volunteers come weekly to assist in providing individual activities for patients along with the upkeep of the playroom and supplies.

Program Activities
The child life program serves children birth through adolescence, providing individual and group experiences in developmental and therapeutic play. Among the services provided by the child life program are the following:
  • Medical play and teaching to familiarize children and families with medical equipment and procedures
  • Developmentally appropriate preparation for accompaniment during painful or invasive procedures.
  • Helpful coping techniques for children and families.
  • Developmentally appropriate toys and activities in play areas or at bedside.
  • Infant stimulation program for infants requiring long-term or frequent hospitalization.
  • Advocacy for children and families.
  • Assistance for siblings of children hospitalized in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Knowledgeable helpful volunteers
  • Surgical Discovery pre-operative tour for children and families
  • Scheduled play and recreation room activities
  • Computer equipped tutoring center
  • Educate staff and community on child life issues by organizing in-services for medical staff and participating in community health fairs
  • Organize special events/donations for patients and families
  • Coordinate pediatric pet therapy and music therapy programs
  • Professional medical charting

The Playroom - a safe, bright and inviting area
To the children, the playroom is a “safe” area where no medical procedures may be performed. It is a bright and inviting room, with a door that leads to an outdoor healing garden for fair weather activities. Toys and activities are available for infants, toddlers, pre-school and school-age children.

The Child Life Intern Placement Process
When applying for an internship for the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Child Life Program, please note that the applicant must be affiliated with an accredited university/college and have ongoing instructor supervision during the internship.
1. Read the following material thoroughly.
2. Contact the Child Life Office with any questions you may have concerning our program or the application process. (217) 544-6464 ext. 30594.
3. Complete the online application form, and mail a copy of your resume and three professional references to:
   St. John’s Children’s Hospital
   Pediatric Child Life Program
   Attn: Vanessa Tinkous, CCLS
   800 E. Carpenter St.
   Springfield, IL 62769
4. The child life specialist will contact you for an interview.
5. The child life specialist will notify you with the status of your application after your professional references have been received and your application is complete.

Criteria for application to the program
Before applying for an internship with the Child Life Program at St. John’s Children’s Hospital, please review the following criteria for make certain you qualify.
  • Students will be working towards a degree in child life, child development or early childhood education and be affiliated with an accredited university/college
  • Students will be in or beyond their senior year in college.
  • Students will have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Students will have a minimum of 100 hours of Child Life practicum in the traditional hospital setting under the direct supervision of a certified child life specialist. 
  • Students will complete a minimum of 100 volunteer hours in the Child Life program.
  • Students will provide three letters of reference, with at least one from their direct supervisor in a health care setting.
  • Students will be working towards child life certification by the child life certifying committee.
  • Course work related to the hospitalized child is required.
  • Students will have extensive coursework in child development.

Personal Characteristics
All applicants must demonstrate sensitivity to children and their families, the ability to work with persons from a variety of cultural backgrounds, flexibility, and creativity.

  1. Health screening provided by St. John’s Hospital
  2. Up-to-date immunizations and TB shots
  3. Written goals and objectives for the field experience
  4. A complete orientation to the Child Life Services and the Children’s Hospital
  5. Observation of all aspects of the Child Life Program
  6. Daily journals to be turned in weekly and discussed with rotation supervisor
  7. Attendance in weekly in-services
  8. Selection of special project for completion during internship and presented to staff
  9. Two off-site visits
  10. Participation in a midterm and final evaluation process
  11. Six completed chart notes turned into the child life supervisor
  12. Five developmental notes
  13. Three activity plans
  14. Weekly evaluations
  15. Supervision of Volunteers
  16. Case study and presentation to staff
  17. Completion of scheduled rotations: Pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Surgery, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Clinics
  18. Assume responsibility for equipment and materials
  19. Independent
  20. Flexible and creative 

HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital follows the Child Life Council's internship deadlines.

No fall 2020 internship will be offered.