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Child Life Practicum


Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is a nationally recognized provider of pediatric health care services. We are the only pediatric hospital in Tennessee ranked in 10 out of 10 pediatric specialty programs in U.S. News & World Report’s "Best Children’s Hospitals."

Leapfrog has recognized Monroe Carell as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the nation. We established our Child Life Program in 1969. It began as a one-person, purely recreational program, and has grown to a large and diverse child life staff.

Our Practicum Student Program strives to provide well-rounded learning by offering two clinical rotations directly supervised by a Certified Child Life Specialist. Practicum experiences are designed with individual student learning and scheduling needs in mind, providing a minimum of 100 hours over the course of 6 to 8 weeks. Student reflection and learning are enhanced by direct supervision and weekly assignments, which include reflective journals and scholarly article reviews. Therapeutic play activities are also included in the practicum experience to support the translation of knowledge to child life practice.

Our team has provided learning experience for child life students since 1980. We continually evaluate our programming to ensure a comprehensive and outstanding experience. Our department’s educational opportunities work to support the overall VUMC Mission statement on diversity and inclusion:

We will reflect the diversity of the populations we serve in our teams, programs and communications and be inclusive in our processes and decisions.

Learn more about our team’s approach to supporting an inclusive environment for education, work and care.

Application Process

A complete child life practicum application packet contains the following:

  • Completed application (download below)
  • Current copy of academic transcripts (may be official or unofficial copies; minimum 3.4 GPA required)

Application due dates

Summer practicum: January 5

Vaccination requirements

  • Flu vaccine
  • Negative TB skin test within the past three months. If there is a history of a positive TB skin test, provide a chest X-ray taken within the past year.
  • If born on or after January 1, 1957, two live measles (rubella) vaccines given no less than one month apart, after the first birthday; or a measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine since 1989; or laboratory evidence of immunity to rubella or physician-diagnosed rubella infection.
  • Varicella (chicken pox) titer drawn from a reputable laboratory or evidence of receiving the vaccine. Evidence of having the disease is not sufficient.
  • Completed series of three Hepatitis-B vaccine, or informed refusal of the vaccine.
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity to rubella (German measles) within the last five years. This titer is not necessary if you have received the MMR or Rubella vaccine since 1989.
  • Tetanus/diphtheria booster if 10 years have elapsed since last booster (recommended).

Vanderbilt may require other appropriate immunizations to ensure you will not be a health hazard to patients and to protect your personal health.

Revised March 2024