5 Questions with Child Life Specialist Katie Robbins

Child Life Specialist KatieChild life specialists are dedicated to supporting the emotional needs of hospitalized children. They help children understand and cope with procedures, illnesses, treatments and extended hospital stays. In honor of Child Life Month, we sat down with Child Life Specialist Katie Robbins to learn more about her experiences and why she chose such a special career!

Why did you become a Child Life Specialist?

I want to help children and families during the difficult times. I know this medical world can be terrifying. The families we serve don’t choose to be in the environment every day. I get the opportunity to help families make sense of this chaotic medical world. We do it through the language that children speak best: play.

How do you manage the many emotions you likely encounter on any given day?

My child life team is vital to helping me manage the variety of emotions each day. They understand the unique situations that we encounter. I also try to make time to go hiking as much as possible. I love being out in nature; it grounds me.

Child life specialist prepares patient for a visit to Radiology
Katie prepares a patient for a visit to Radiology

What is one experience that stands out during your time here at Connecticut Children’s?

When I first started at Connecticut Children’s I was working in the Emergency Department. Lacerations requiring stitches is something that is a common for the ED. I was working with a young child who had come in to get stitches. Like many parents his father was very worried and concerned stating “how are you going to do this? He is never going to stay still.”

Through some medical play, education and distraction this child lay completely still through the whole procedure. This father looked at me and said “We could not have done this without you. This is incredible.” The thing I love the most is taking something that can be so scary for patients and families and helping to make is something so easy.

What surprises you the most about working with children?

Kids always keep you on your toes. They are funny in the most surprising ways. They ask really good and sometimes really tough questions. Even during the hardest times or when they feel the sickest, they still want to find ways to play.

What is one fun fact about yourself?

I worked as a barista at a coffee shop for two years and participated in a barista competition. I don’t enjoy drinking coffee.

Learn more about our Child Life department and other child and family support services

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