Meet Kelsie: Certified Child Life Specialist

Kelsie is a Certified Child Life Specialist in the radiology department at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Over the past 18 months, Kelsie and her colleagues have developed a program to reduce the use of sedation for pediatric patients who require an MRI.

The creation of the MR-I Can Do It program has offered alternative, safe options for children who do not medically require sedation. Sedation is often utilized so the child can remain still for the duration of the scan. But sedation comes with inherent risks for patients. That’s why Kelsie and her team have created opportunities for education and preparation to help kids complete MRIs without sedation.

When a child is scheduled for an MRI with sedation, Kelsie and the MR-I Can Do It team review the patient’s information to see if he or she is an appropriate candidate for the program. If so, the team contacts the family to further assess if the child may be able to complete the scan without sedation. Through developmentally specific teaching and preparation—and the support of child life specialists— over 600 children at Mott have completed their scans in the last year and a half without sedation.

In her eight years as a child life specialist, Kelsie’s approach has always simply been to meet children where they are. Clinical assessments of children’s strengths and fears allow her to work with young patients regardless of age or medical condition to find their path to success. Her ability to connect with a child to build quick rapport and trust is part of what allows her to do her job so well.

Thank you so much for your patience, kindness and overall awesomeness. Without your services, my son’s MRI could not have been a success. You made my son very comfortable. Thank you for going above and beyond to ensure my son had a positive experience. Your skills are invaluable. My son said he'd come back again, because of you!! :)”-parent of an MR-I Can Do It patient

While her current work is focused on supporting patients through the MR-I Can Do It program, Kelsie’s goal is to be supportive of children whenever she can. When she is not working with a patient in her program, she can be found supporting children who are receiving IVs or a variety of other radiology procedures.

“Kelsie would be quick to tell you that her work with patients and families is what drives her. Her commitment to reducing stress and anxiety for hospitalized children is evident in all facets of her work,” Lauren Thomas, Child Life Manager, Child and Family Life Department at Mott

Beyond her work with patients, Kelsie’s role as a teammate and mentor is equally noteworthy. She never hesitates to assist a colleague in need, to provide education to others on the developmental needs of children and teens in the hospital, or to highlight the work and contributions of her peers. Parents, patients and staff alike are quick to acknowledge Kelsie and the impact she’s had on their day. Kelsie’s approach to her clinical and team work is genuine and central to her mission of supporting and encouraging others.

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