“It is tough. But it is incredibly rewarding too. In such a short period of time, you build a special bond with each kid.”

From left to right: Gilda M., Case Manager, Vicky J., Nurse, Tracey Kunj-Ramen, Child Life Specialist, and Regina S., Nurse.

We recently sat down with Tracey Kunj-Ramen, the only Child Life Specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York. She shared what it’s like to run a one-person Child Life program and how a typical day can look like.

She begins her day by prepping for the interdisciplinary team meeting that is held each morning in the pediatric department. Together, doctors, residents, nurses, case managers, and Tracey review each pediatric patient in the unit and discuss the best course of action for their treatment.

This includes the medical, social, and mental health aspects. Tracey explained that knowing which patients will need blood work or have specific procedures done helps with planning her day, as well as what tools and resources she may want to use. From there, Tracey is running all over the hospital. “I will see my patients in the Pediatric Unit first, and then I could be called down to other departments for supplies or to prepare an anxious child for a procedure. It really depends on who comes in that day and what is needed.”

Tracey’s services extend to the Pediatric Department, Pediatric ER, which treats 25,000 patients annually, the Ambulatory Care Unit, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. When she is not interacting with patients, she is working with various hospital staff to handle administrative tasks, including acquiring new paint for her patient’s rooms, new televisions, and more. Like many Child Life Departments, Tracey often faces challenges securing funding for things needed on her floor and for her patients, such as equipment, supplies, technology, and general upkeep. This is where enCourage Kids steps in. 

enCourage Kids is proud to have provided funding for the past 17 years to Jamaica Hospital for child-friendly exam tables, new infant scales, a total Pediatric Emergency Room Renovation, and other enhancements for their Child Life Department. We also send entertainers for their monthly hospital parties and provide supplies to brighten the pediatric unit.

We are delighted to support one-person Child Life programs and the entire Child Life Community at large.