New Child Life Specialist Jasmine Miller Knew Early on She Wanted to Help Children with Cancer

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Jasmine Miller, Child Life Specialist, knew from the age of eight that she wanted to find a career helping kids with cancer.

Young Jasmine watched her dad struggle through a cancer diagnosis and treatment and thought that if her dad was suffering so much then how would someone her own age feel. Since that time, she has pursued that goal to make sure kids feel safe and comforted while going through a similar situation.

Growing up in a musical household also inspired Jasmine to eventually specialize in music therapy. Her father, who beat cancer, encouraged her to look at pursuing an education in the field. She remembered how when he was undergoing cancer treatment that often music was the only thing that brought him comfort.

“Music is a great tool to help people through medical trauma or emotional distress, but there is a broad scope approach too,” she says.

This large toolbox is what she’s come to appreciate most about working for the Institute, where she started in January 2023. She likes that the Institute is an outpatient center that welcomes families to come together during proton therapy treatment. She could tell right away there was a psychosocial importance at the Institute, and Dr. Daniel Indelicato, who directs the pediatric radiotherapy program at the University of Florida, was an advocate for the child life program.

“I think of my job as part-time teacher and part-time friend,” Jasmine says. She is responsible for easing anxiety and educating the Institute’s youngest patients and their families about what treatment looks and feels like and guides them along the way. She explains this can mean being in the room when a parent can’t be and letting the child know when a machine is going to move or what they should expect next.

It can also mean using her background in music therapy. She recently had the opportunity to sit down at the piano in the lobby and play several songs with a patient that was experiencing high anxiety about upcoming treatments. Shortly after Jasmine started, an 11-year-old female patient from Canada arrived for proton therapy. There was talk about using anesthesia to ensure she remained safely immobile for the treatments, but with Jasmine’s guidance, the anesthesia was not necessary.

She was by the patient’s side for the 30 days she underwent treatment and was able to keep her calm.

In her free time, Jasmine is a theme park nanny. She says it’s important to see healthy, active children full of joy. It balances the daily stress of her job and is healing to see children thriving and happy. She also loves the beach and spending time with friends and family. When she plays music for herself, she usually picks up the guitar and is getting back into playing the piano more regularly.


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