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Meet the staff: Tracy

11th May 2018

Tracy is a Senior Health Play Specialist in St George’s Hospital’s busy Paediatric A & E, who work 24/7 to provide the highest quality care to very sick children and their families from London and the South East of England. She has worked at St George’s for just over two years.

Here she tells us more about her role:

Why did choose to work for  St George’s?

My job is a rare one, and is not to be found in all A&E Departments, so when I saw the vacancy come up I had to apply!

What’s a typical day for you?

Amongst many other things, I will go with children to blood tests and procedures they are having. Often they are very distressed and confused when they come into hospital, so a huge part of my role is gaining their trust and helping them to understand what is going on. I’ll teach them about this through play, so for example, if they have a Hickman line (a central vein catheter), their teddy bear will get one too. I also help to support the parents. And I work with doctors and nurses in supporting the young patients.

What’s your favourite part about your role?

Seeing the positive outcomes of children and young people. By using play as a tool, I can teach the patients about their illness, treatment and tests. The most rewarding part of my job is being able to see a worried or distress patient grow in confidence, having the knowledge to understand their conditions and/or procedures, and empowering them to use their voices to express their concerns and views, thus tailoring their treatment to themselves. This reduces their stress and gives them a better experience of hospital.  

What impact do charitable donations  have on patients?

The impact is truly monumental. In the past we have had lots of DVDs donated; these are constantly playing in our waiting area and are great entertainment for children, young people and their parents, who sometimes have to wait several hours to be seen.

We have also had lots of toys donated.  Play helps to alleviate boredom and distract them from pain. This distraction also benefits their parents, as if their child is less agitated and stressed, this will naturally have a knock-on effect and help them to feel more relaxed.

Play is every child’s normalisation, and in turn can help the doctors to diagnose a patient correctly but can also be used as an aid to motivate children and young people out of bed and on the road to recovery.

We really could not do so much of what we do without the amazing donations we receive from such kind-hearted people, we are so grateful for each and every one of them!

To find out more about donating toys to our Play Teams please visit our Toy Appeal page.

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