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Meet the team

The play team consists of qualified health play specialists, play assistants and a dedicated group of volunteers. Read on to meet two of the team:

play tom 

Hi, my name is Tom and I am  just starting the second year of my foundation degree in Healthcare Play Specialism. I have worked at the hospital as a play assistant for just over a year while I studied which has been a great way to learn on the job.

I work on ward 35 mainly, which is the adolescent ward, where we look after young people aged 11+. Our patients might all have quite different conditions and needs but the ward environment is set up to suit older children to make them feel more comfortable.

My role involves providing activities to ease boredom, emotional support and distraction if someone is feeling low and helping the medical teams prepare young people for treatment.

I don't really have an average day. I start off with a handover from the nurses to check who is with us and how they are feeling. I then make a plan to see as many patients as possible and address their individual needs. I could start the day playing in a FIFA tournament, move onto an arty session with a group of patients and end up supporting a young person 121 in their private room by having a chat or watching a film.

I really enjoy group sessions on the ward - we recently had a graffiti artist deliver a workshop where the young people created designs for the refurbishment of the main corridor.

Away from the hospital I enjoy sport with friends, live music and watching box sets on Netflix.

 laura play

Hello! My name is Laura & I am a Health Play Specialist (HPS). I joined Play Services here in 2007 as the first Health Play Assistant (HPA). In 2010, I qualified as a HPS so I have now been practicing for 7 years in my current role!

Previously, I have worked with babies, children & young people in a variety of settings for 14 years. Working with children in hospital is very different to working with 'well' children & i use play as a therapeutic tool to maintain a patient's developmental needs during their admission in hospital but also to help children to understand & cope with their own illness & treatment.

I work part-time at the Clinical Investigation Unit (CIU) & the Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I also have a caseload of patients who are referred for specialised play interventions.  

My working day largely involves facilitating play opportunities to patient's at their bedside which is child-led, focussing on their developmental/ sensory play needs but also their interests & abilities on that day. I use specialised play techniques, including Preparation and Distraction to work therapeutically with patients, supporting them through their illness or a procedure that they are finding difficult to complete.

Children & play are fascinating & I really enjoy working with patient's & their families & seeing the difference that Play makes to their hospital journey.

At home,  I am a keen camper, cat-lover & enjoy exploring the great outdoors with my family.