A day in the life:
Health Play Specialist
To recognise National Play Day, on 4 August, we spoke with Cromwell's Health Play Specialist about what she does at Cromwell and what she likes about her role.
Hi, I'm Sara Smith and I’m the Health Play Specialist for our Skyline Paediatric Department at Cromwell Hospital. I’ve been in this role in hospital settings for 21 years, but I only joined Cromwell Hospital in November 2020. Being able to work in with a fabulous team of professionals who are so passionate about their work is brilliant.
My normal day starts at 8am and finishes at 4pm. During these hours, I split my time between the Paediatric Ward and the Outpatients Department. I would describe my role as supporting children and young people during their hospital stay as well as offering support to their families. To do this, I explain tests and procedures at a level that a child or young person can understand and give them time to ask any questions. In short, as a Play Specialist, I use play to make a child’s time in hospital less daunting.
The activities that children can do will normally be things that they also enjoy doing at home, in order for it to be more normal for them. They’ll be able to do these activities either in their room or in the ward’s playroom.
As a Play Specialist in the Outpatient Department, I run an activity table in the waiting room for any children and young people attending Clinics. I’m also on call to provide any distractions in the Phlebotomy room which can be anything from singing, blowing bubbles, reading/looking at books or simply having a chat about hobbies.
As a Play Specialist, it’s very rewarding to know that you have helped a child or young person through a difficult time and that their stay in hospital has been as positive an experience as possible."