A year ago today was my last day in the hospital. I was packing up the last of my things, trying to make sure my colleagues knew where to find things, and saying goodbyes. We provided transitional care for kids, so many of our patients stayed with us for several weeks. Whenever a patient was discharged, an announcement was made over the paging system and staff and patients would line the hallway to the exit to sing the “goodbye” song. When it was time for me to leave, they sang the goodbye song for me, and I couldn’t help but cry. It was such a nice way to end my time there. It felt special to end the day with a ritual more personal than just walking out the door with boxes.
I’ve reached a new milestone in this journey. It makes me grateful for the time and opportunity I’ve had and the people who have supported me in this endeavor. I’m looking forward to the year ahead. I think that sometimes in my desire to present an honest portrait of child life private practice that I emphasize the challenges. There has been a lot to learn, and I don’t want someone to step into this choice with unrealistic expectations. But, today I want to highlight a few of the things I really enjoy about working in private practice:
1. A flexible schedule: I get to schedule my own time and I can make appointments (both personal and professional) at times that are convenient for me. I can spend time with family during the week.
2. Depth of engagement: If I’m putting together materials for a parent talk or working with a client, I can spend as much time as I want to research and prepare. I recently researched resources for preparing children for a new baby. I was able to go to the central library and spend several hours reading children’s books and creating an annotated bibliography.
3. Continuing education: This goes hand-in-hand with depth of engagement. I can attend local talks, workshops, and other activities that happen in my area as my schedule (and budget!) allows.
4. Diversity of projects: I can work on this blog, meet with individual clients, teach classes, talk to parent groups and lots of different things in between. Child life is diverse in any setting, but it is fun to explore new territory. I enjoy the challenge of adapting my child life skills/training to the home and community setting.
5. Self-care– I’m able to pursue interests and engage in activities that I enjoy and that make me feel centered and connected. I’m still working to develop more “rhythm” to my weeks and my self-care practices. But, I love that I have the choice to read/exercise, take a walk, visit a museum, or work on craft projects when I need to take time for myself.