It’s Child Life Week at Children’s, so we’re dedicating this week’s Five Question Friday to learning more about Joanna Davis, a child life specialist and the coordinator of the new Child Life Zone at our St. Paul campus.
How long have you worked at Children’s?
I have worked here since July 2013. Before I came to Children’s, I worked at a children’s hospital in Alaska.
Why did you decide to become a child life specialist?
I knew I wanted to work with kids, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. At the time I had never heard of the child life profession. While I was in college, my sister was doing her nursing clinicals and she followed a child life specialist around for a day. She called me up immediately after to tell me she found the perfect job for me. I looked up all I could about child life. Ever since then, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I did everything I could to get my certification in child life, and I give all the credit to my sister, for finding me my perfect job!
We recently opened the new Child Life Zone in St. Paul. Can you tell us more about the new space?
The Child Life Zone is a state-of-the-art, therapeutic play area, located on the St. Paul campus. It’s a place that patients, siblings and families can play, hang out, have fun and just relax. Inside we have a therapeutic craft and play area, media wall and gaming area, Children’s library, Star Studio performance space and kitchen area for special events. We also offer sibling play services for kids whose brother or sister is in the hospital.
What do you love most about your job?
Working with kids and their families, and helping make their experience here at Children’s even more positive. The Child Life Zone draws kids from all over the hospital – we have outpatient kids that come weekly after their therapy appointments, infusion kids that come up and play from the short-stay unit while getting their meds, and inpatient kids that come down daily if they are able to. It’s really nice getting to see these kids come to a space in the hospital where they feel safe, and they really open up to you.
The theme for Child Life Week is “everyone plays in the same language.” What was your favorite childhood toy?
I loved my Easy Bake Oven! I played with it all the time until I got old enough that I started baking in the kitchen. Baking cookies is one of my favorite things to do.