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Cleveland Clinic Child Life Specialist in Cleveland, Ohio

Join the Cleveland Clinic team, where you will work alongside passionate caregivers and provide patient-first healthcare. At Cleveland Clinic, you will work alongside passionate and dedicated caregivers, receive endless support and appreciation, and build a rewarding career with one of the most respected healthcare organizations in the world.

As a Child Life Specialist, you will be working with patients and families to communicate with our interdisciplinary team, child life team and other patients/families. The child life role allows caregivers to provide empathy, support and help patients build coping skills to take with them for future experiences. Working in this ever-changing field, your primary duties will include but are not limited to:

  • Assessing the developmental, social, emotional and physical needs of children and youth whose caregivers are hospitalized.

  • Documenting the patients' developmental level, emotional state and utilizing procedures using assessment techniques throughout the hospital stay.

  • Assisting with patients and families with techniques for relaxation, decreasing stress and more during testing procedures.

  • Providing diversional activities in the playroom, activity room and beside.

  • Providing education and information for parental understanding of hospital system and resources.

The ideal future caregiver is someone who:

  • Works well in a close-knit, teambuilding environment.

  • Can build therapeutic relationships quickly with patients.

  • Provides empathetic and compassionate care in a patient-centered environment.

  • Has excellent communication skills.

This is an excellent opportunity for someone who is looking to learn and grow within their career. Caregivers in this department professionally develop through group education opportunities and can attend national child-life conferences. The work culture in this department is positive and communication is clear between all team members. You will be supported by leadership and encouraged in your professional development.

At Cleveland Clinic, we know what matters most. That's why we treat our caregivers as if they are our own family, and we are always creating ways to be there for you. Here, you'll find that we offer: resources to learn and grow, a fulfilling career for everyone, and comprehensive benefits that invest in your health, your physical and mental well-being and your future. When you join Cleveland Clinic, you'll be part of a supportive caregiver family that will be united in shared values and purpose to fulfill our promise of being the best place to receive care and the best place to work in healthcare.


  • Assesses developmental, psychosocial, emotional and cultural needs using a strengths-based approach, the child life specialist provides developmentally appropriate education for medical procedures and diagnoses, non-pharmacological pain management, therapeutic play and emotional and bereavement support for the patient and family.

  • Document treatment plans/outcomes for patients within the electronic medical record as required by department guidelines and professional standards.

  • Functioning as a member of the health care team, the child life specialist is responsible for supporting pediatric and adult patients and their family members in adjusting to healthcare experiences, illness/injury and loss across critical care, acute and ambulatory health care settings, and relaxation techniques to decrease stress and increase coping skills.

  • Plan and implement therapeutic interventions and a variety of individual and group play experiences promoting development, self-expression, and mastery.

  • Maintain and order supplies and equipment as needed.

  • Advocate for patient and family-centered care through communication, involvement, partnership with and empowerment of patients and family members.

  • Provide education regarding illness/condition, treatment, procedures and coping techniques to patients, family members, and the larger community as appropriate.

  • Actively participate as a member of the interdisciplinary healthcare team, integrating goals and plans to promote optimal patient care that is family-centered, developmentally appropriate, culturally sensitive, and psychosocially sound.

  • Actively participate in monthly clinical team and committee meetings

  • Regularly attends and participates in medical, multidisciplinary, and psychosocial team meetings.

  • Orient and supervise volunteers and participate in education for Cleveland Clinic and visiting students.

  • Facilitate ongoing formal and informal education and orientation for unit and multidisciplinary team on availability and provision of child life service.

  • Provide a physically and emotionally safe, therapeutic and healing environment for patients, families and staff.

  • Co-treat and refer patients and families to multidisciplinary services and resources as needed.

  • Serve as a financial steward by implementing cost effective programming.

  • Adhere to and embrace Enterprise Child Life team norms.

  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Minimum of bachelor's degree in child life or related field for credentialing as a Certified Child Life Specialist is required.


  • Must have completed an approved Child Life Internship, minimum of 600 hours, under the direction of a Certified Child Life Specialist.

  • Child life specialists must have or earn professional certification (CCLS) through the Association of Child Life Professionals within a year of appointment and maintain certification throughout their employment.

  • If certification is not achieved within 1 year of hire, the caregiver is not eligible to practice.

  • An extension may be granted by Child Life Manager under appropriate circumstances.

  • Proof of Basic Life Support (BLS) through American Heart Association (AHA) certification must be obtained within one year of hire.

Competencies (Complexity of Work):

  • Strong interpersonal communication, teamwork, and listening skills are required.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team is required.

  • Ability to problem solve and make clinical decisions with minimal supervision and independently when needed is required.

  • Demonstrate proficiency in all child life clinical competencies and standards of clinical practice as defined by the Child Life Certification Commission, a subsidiary of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).

  • Remain abreast of current developments in the child life profession and participate in professional development to enhance clinical knowledge and skills.

  • Represent the Enterprise Child Life Department and manages clinical responsibilities on evenings, weekends, and holidays as assigned.

  • Contribute to overall departmental coverage needs through daily coverage plan.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum of two years and 4000 hours of professional Child Life clinical experience in a hospital setting preferred.

Physical Requirements:

  • Requires full range of body motion including handling and lifting patient, manual and finger dexterity, and eye-hand coordination.

  • Requires standing and walking for extended periods of time.

  • Requires corrected vision and hearing to normal range.

  • Requires working under stressful conditions and irregular hours. Exposure to communicable diseases and/or body fluids.

  • Medium Work - Exerting 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently, and/or greater than negligible up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects.

  • Physical Demand requirements are in excess of those for Light Work.

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Follows Standard Precautions using personal protective equipment as required for procedures.

Salaries [which may be] shown on independent job search websites reflect various market averages and do not represent information obtained directly from The Cleveland Clinic. Because we value each individual candidate, we invite and encourage each candidate to discuss salary/hourly specifics during the application and hiring process.

Cleveland Clinic Health System is pleased to be an equal employment employer: Women / Minorities / Veterans / Individuals with Disabilities