Child Life Practicum - Blank Childrens Hospital

Practicum Overview

The Child Life Practicum Program at Blank Children's Hospital offers an 8-week practicum experience. Our Child Life program is committed to providing quality learning and training experience for future Child Life specialists. Through the practicum experience, students are given opportunities to observe and become familiar with the field of Child Life and the hospital setting. This experience, with others, will provide the student with a knowledge base to continue pursuing a career in Child Life.

  • The Child Life Practicum is eight weeks and totals 100 hours. The program accepts a minimum of one but not more than two students.

Included in the practicum will be education in-services and direct patient and family care. Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with medical play, pre-operative and pre-procedural preparation, coping facilitation, planning and supervising developmentally appropriate activities, and working with individuals and groups. The practicum is designed to facilitate the student's growth as a professional by participation as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team.


Students will complete the following during the practicum program:

  • Participation in volunteer orientation led by the Volunteer Services department.
  • Journals of hospital experience to be turned in weekly - please complete the entry at the end of each day while impressions, behaviors and incidents from the day are still fresh in mind.
  • Assigned readings given by the practicum supervisor.
  • Participation in class discussion, in-services, etc. to enhance professional development.
  • Provide appropriate play opportunities to patients in inpatient and outpatient settings.
  • Observe preparation, coping and charting throughout practicum.
  • Complete a procedural checklist.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate a therapeutic play activity and a health care play activity.
  • Participation in the evaluation tools used at midterm and final.
  • An evaluation of the practicum program at the conclusion of the experience.
  • A self-evaluation at midterm and at final evaluation. Additional responsibilities as assigned.


Housing arrangements are the responsibility of the student.
No stipend is paid to the Child Life Practicum student; parking is free of charge.
Textbooks may be purchased or departmental copies may be used by the student.


All practicum students must have at least a junior level status and affiliation with a university at the time of the practicum. Individuals interested in the Child Life Practicum Program should follow the time schedule for the application procedure.

Summer 2023 Offer and Acceptance Dates:

  • Application Deadline: January 5, 2023
  • Initial Offer Date: February 14, 2023
  • Acceptance Date: February 15, 2023
  • Practicum Date: June - August, 2023

If accepted into the program, the following vaccinations or tests need to be completed and documented by your school or family doctor prior to your start date:

  • Two MMRs or proof of a Titer
  • Tuberculin Skin Test
  • Tetanus (not required, but recommended)
  • COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Influenza Vaccine

Applying for the Child Life Practicum

To be considered for the practicum, please submit the following application items:

  1. Application form
  2. Three recommendation forms completed by non-family members
  3. Resume
  4. College transcript (Official transcript is recommended but not required)

Please send application items to:

Blank Children's Hospital
Child Life Department
Attn: Internship Team
1200 Pleasant Street
Des Moines, IA 50309


An interview is required for practicum selection. You may be contacted for an interview, after your application, transcript and recommendations are reviewed. If it is impossible to arrange a personal interview, one can be conducted over the telephone. During the interview you will be asked a series of questions regarding child development theories and application.