Talk about #stress. My team has kindly suggested, truthfully nagged me, to create a blog. Even went as far as telling me its a SHAME we don't share our experience and knowledge. So their guilt trip worked, and I am writing our first blog. I say our blog because the Alliance For Kids team of Board Members, volunteers, and staff contributes to the care of our mission to support hospitalized patients and their families. Their collective wisdom and dedication are what make our programs so valuable.
My name is Jane Weber Miller, and I am a Certified Child Life Specialist, Life Pain Specialist, founder, and CEO of the Alliance For Kids. We often hear the phrase that "we are a collection of our experiences," this is true for me.
My collection of experiences from teaching, coaching, and my favorite job of being a #mom prepared me to become a Child Life Specialist (CCLS). A CCLS helps prepare, distract, and educate hospitalized kids and their families for the hospital experience, including painful procedures. My CCLS expertise and passion for assisting families helped me become the CCLS team manager. This fantastic team and a supportive hospital administration championed our efforts to build more programs to offer more ways to make #hospitalization easier. I love technology and finding ways for it to help hospitalized kids. While still a CCLS on the oncology floor, I needed a way for all families to have access to the resources available to them. The original Alliance For Kids program called RESCUE was a simple portal for families to find resources.
From there came Monkey For Me®, an MRI safe stuffable #superhero sidekick who can relive stress just by petting him. Our Bravery Bands™ developed with a long-term cancer patient's creative mind, help children communicate about their scary and stressful procedures. Our Super Serum® Shield changes a scary IV into a superhero power. We, of course, couldn't resist providing small wishes and support to the Child Life Team.
Our program grew, and we needed more specialists. We started raising money for one year CCLS fellowships because families never receive a bill for a CCLS service. Our next adventure was a true one. We created the Super Serum Animation Series to help prepare #kids for hard procedures. With all the innovative ways we were helping and the requests from other hospitals, I passed on my beloved manager position and focused full time on building more ways to help. Leaving the floor as a CCLS was the hardest thing I've ever done. I miss helping my little patients and their families every day.
My last months working in the hospital were very busy doing both child life manager and building a stronger Alliance For Kids and Happy Life programs. I was blessed to go to Cambodia and provide Alliance For Kids programs to the Cambodia Children's fund clinic and train nurses on how to use comfort positions for difficult procedures. While in Cambodia, Tenet Hospitals awarded me with their highest honor, The Tenet Hall of Fame Hero award. I consider this award for my entire team since, at the time, we created most of the programs together.
We created a new hospital position called a Life Pain Specialist (LPS), a "pain coach" for patients 13-30 years of age to help prevent #opioid misuse and educate on nonpharmacological pain management techniques. Our research had just started at the Grady's Orthopedic Trauma unit in Atlanta. The patient's and medical team's response was outstanding. We had just begun to secure funds for an entire team of LPS at St Mary's Medical Center and Palm Beach Children's hospital when fundraising as the whole was interrupted because of social distancing requirements.
Twenty hospitals and five years later, we were well into our 9th and best year when #Covid- 19, like you changes all our lives.
We learned from true superheroes how to adapt. If a child and family can adapt to a #cancer diagnosis, we can adapt to the changes Covid-19 brings.
First, we asked what we can do to help with what we have? We took the sides of our foam Super Serum Sheilds, which made the Super Serum® Shield better and created Super Shields for our friends, the healthcare workers batting on the front lines of this invisible enemy.
Second, One requirement of our LPS position is becoming Mental Health First Aid trained. We can now offer Mental Health First Aid training for healthcare workers and anyone wanting to help someone cope with the stress of our new world. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression on the rise, and we are here to help.
Third, our LPS was received so well we decided to make a certification for individuals wanting to help loved those in pain. Our Pain Coach Certifications provide strategies for successful pain and stress management without opioids.
We will use this blog to help everyone create their own a Happy Life™
Plan™. Using our years of assisting patients in managing the hospital experience, we will offer information on stress, anxiety, pain management and whole health. Enhanced with the research discovered while developing our Life Pain Specialist position. Our first subject blog will be on ways we teach stress management. Thanks for joining us.