Emotional Care for the Hospitalized Child: The Child Life Model

Objectives and competences


The main learning outcomes of the master's degree are as follows:

  • Obtain appropriate training as professionals involved in the process of caring for pediatric patients, to become competent in the area of family-centred care and in the Child Life model, and to become capable of designing and managing care plans that promote the participation of patients and their families.
  • Obtain suitable training as professionals who can design, develop and assess research projects on the experience of pediatric disease and the outcome of applying the Child Life model.
  • Obtain suitable training as professionals who can lead and coordinate interdisciplinary teams that apply the model of family-centred care and Child Life.
  • Analyse and critically interpret healthcare practice, the changing needs of society and the available resources, to become capable of proposing theoretical and methodological changes in healthcare practice.
  • Learn the theoretical and methodological principles and instruments of work required to implement care plans based on the Child Life model.
  • Act in an ethical and legal way that complies with the ethical code, both in clinical practice during training and in professional development.


Basic competences

  • Knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development and/or application of ideas, typically in a research context.

  • Capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of studies.

  • Capacity to integrate knowledge and tackle the complexity of formulating judgements based on incomplete or limited information, giving due consideration to the social and ethical responsibilities involved in applying knowledge and making judgements.

  • Capacity to communicate knowledge and conclusions and the grounds on which they have been reached to specialist and non-specialist audiences in a clear and unambiguous manner.

  • Capacity for ongoing self-directed and independent learning.

General competences

  • Capacity to integrate knowledge of the current context of hospitalisation of children and the development of Child Life as a care model focused on children, adolescents and their families.

  • Capacity to recognise and assess situations of stress that children, adolescents and their families may experience during the process of hospitalisation, or the performance of medical and health tests and techniques, in the different stages of evolution of a disease.

  • Capacity to analyse traditional care models, so that new therapeutic interventions can be designed to improve professional practice.

  • Capacity to identify and apply research methods and procedures in the health sciences that are appropriate to the Child Life care model.

  • Capacity to apply techniques to manage, lead and evaluate interdisciplinary or multiprofessional care teams for children, adolescents and families.

  • Capacity to lead, design and assess research projects in the area of pediatric care, both within and outside the hospital.

  • Ability to develop theoretical and methodological ideas and proposals aimed at preventing and addressing situations of vulnerability in children, adolescents and their families, from a perspective focused on respect for human rights, the values of a democratic culture, cultural diversity and gender.

  • Capacity to design care programmes based on the Child Life model for children's hospitals or in pediatric units in general hospitals.

  • Capacity to develop care models based on creativity and innovation, aimed at improving the quality of healthcare.

  • Capacity to establish educational and therapeutic communication with children, adolescents and their families.

Specific competences

  • Capacity to innovate and make proposals to improve the area of hospitalisation of children.

  • Capacity to assess, plan, execute and evaluate treatment plans that include a specific Child Life approach, basically in relation to psychosocial care.

  • Capacity to assess quality standards in the area of hospitalisation of children

  • Capacity to identify situations and contexts that are stressful for children or adolescents, whether or not they are hospitalised, and for their families.

  • Capacity to respond to situations of stress, pain, emotional impact and situations of terminal illness in children and adolescents, taking into account the participation of their families.

  • Capacity to identify educational strategies in the process of hospitalisation of children.

  • Capacity to identify and plan specific therapies that are suitable for each situation.

  • Capacity to lead, design, develop and assess research projects to facilitate evidence-based practice in the field of Child Life or pediatric psychosocial care.

  • Capacity to promote interdisciplinary work with other members of the team, professionals and volunteers.

  • Capacity to identify social risk factors in childhood during the process of hospitalisation or disease.