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Beth Fitzpatrick educates about child life services

March is Child Life Month, a month where hospitals celebrate child life specialists and the Child Life profession through education and awareness of their work. To honor these dedicated professionals during the month of March, CMN Hospitals will highlight the top 10 nominees submitted for the 2020 Delta Child Life Specialist of the Year award.

Since May 2011, Beth Fitzpatrick has been going above and beyond to support patients at OHSU Doembecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. 

As a Child Life Specialist, Beth spends her days focusing on helping children have a better hospital experience. She does this on an individual level — like helping a child through a blood draw — and on a broad level hospital wide. 

For example, Beth established a hospital bingo game that takes place every Wednesday. With the help of hospital volunteers, Beth leads a room full of children in the game, but she also streams the game to the TVs throughout the medical campus. This allows all the other children to play along from their rooms and call in when they have a bingo. 

Beth is also a huge supporter of the Delta STEM program at the hospital. She handles all of the logistics of implementing the program and helped select a highly engaged STEM mentor to work with patients. The children love to see the branded cart coming through the unit because they know it contains fun games and a 3D printer to brighten their days. 

Outside of patient care, Beth also manages many different components of the Child Life program. She has created a robust volunteer program and volunteer training program to help each individual be prepared to interact with children based on their developmental stages. She also manages the annual holiday donation program. 

As an advocate for the importance of Child Life Specialists, Beth frequently travels to other hospitals and conferences to educate administrators and other personnel on the essential role Child Life can play in their patients’ lives. After a recent presentation, one hospital decided on the spot to begin a Child Life program because Beth’s research and experience were so powerful. 

Currently, Beth is training staff at a new community hospital in the principles of Child Life support. This will enable them to provide better care as the hospital expands its NICU. 

Beth’s focus, organization, humility and ability to always put her patients first means that children are having a better hospital experience every day. 

Beth Fitzpatrick grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an avid crafter and enjoys making greeting cards and scrapbooks. 

Child Life Specialists help normalize the hospital experience and bring joy and comfort to hospitalized kids and their families. Many of the funds raised by CMN Hospitals are used to fund Child Life programs and help make up the gap between what government and insurance pay for and the actual cost of caring for kids in our member hospitals.