Reflections on Hong Kong Trip
I had the privilege of participating in the 2023 Asian Child Life Symposium from August 11 tp 18, 2023. The symposium was the largest one focusing on Child Life in Asia, organized by the Hong Kong Cancer Fund, co-hosted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Children's Hospital, and generously sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The event drew the participation of nearly 200 professionals, including certified Child Life Specialists , doctors, nurses, and foundation members, hailing from various corners of the globe.
As a representative from the mainland, the Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University (ZCH) had the opportunity to present a conference report titled "Localization of Child Life Practices" during the afternoon session. In this report, ZCH highlighted our institution's endeavors in the field of Child Life. It was an honor to share our experiences and insights with the esteemed attendees, who were highly appreciative of the work we are carrying out in the realm of Child Life.
The symposium offered an invaluable platform for networking and knowledge exchange among professionals dedicated to improving the well-being of children and families facing medical challenges. Being a part of this event allowed ZCH to not only showcase the progress and innovations in our institution's Child Life initiatives but also to learn from the diverse experiences and perspectives of fellow professionals from around the world.
This experience reaffirmed the significance of collaboration and continuous learning in advancing the field of Child Life. The symposium underscored the importance of adapting strategies to regional contexts while leveraging the shared expertise of professionals worldwide. It was truly inspiring to witness the collective commitment to enhancing the quality of care and support provided to children in medical settings.
After the symposium, I also took part in the internal training hosted by the organizers. These sessions provided a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the nuances of Child Life in the Asian context, while also sharing cutting-edge research and best practices. The trainer were former ACLP presidents Eugene Johnson and Stephanie Hopkinson. This proved to be an unforgettable learning experience. Throughout these days of training, we delved deep into various topics relevant to the field of Child Life, ranging from reflective practice to program assessment, emotional safety to therapeutic play. Each topic brought new perspectives and insights that enriched my understanding.
To begin with, exploring reflective practice highlighted the significance of introspection within the realm of Child Life. By continually reflecting on and summarizing my practical experiences, I could better gauge the effectiveness of my approaches and continuously enhance my methods, thereby delivering improved support and care to children and families in need.
The aspect of program assessment taught me that providing services alone is insufficient to evaluate the efficacy of a Child Life team. Learning how to develop and implement assessment plans allowed for more accurate measurements of whether our work met the intended goals and areas that could benefit from refinement.
Emotional safety emerged as a central concept in Child Life, and through this training, I gained a deeper understanding of how to foster an environment in medical settings that offers children and families a sense of security and support. This extends beyond professional skills and involves attention to details, such as building close relationships with children and handling their emotions effectively.
The topics of sensory needs and therapeutic play expanded my repertoire of creative techniques for interacting with children. Understanding how sensory experiences and engaging games can help alleviate pain, stress, and discomfort enabled me to design activities more tailored to their needs in practical scenarios.
Clinical supervision and project management are vital to better organize and oversee a Child Life team. Acquiring supervisory skills and leadership principles empowered me to guide team members more effectively, enhance overall efficiency, and ensure the ongoing improvement of our services.
The most valuable aspect of this training was engaging with peers from various regions and exchanging insights. Through group discussions and sharing, I not only gained from others' experiences and practices but also established a broader professional network that will positively impact my future work.
In summary, this training provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the Child Life field. It not only solidified my existing beliefs and knowledge but also ignited fresh ideas and inspirations. I firmly believe that in my future endeavors, I will be able to apply what I've learned to provide more professional and compassionate support and care for children and families. Undoubtedly, this learning journey was a precious and beneficial enrichment for my spirit.