Bringing smiles to children in hospital

Posted on Mon, 27/03/2017 by Wendy Oliver, Nursery Nurse

Wendy Oliver, nursery nurse

I have worked with children for the past 32 years in a wide variety of settings.  A friend’s child spent some time in hospital and mentioned how valuable the nursery nurse on the ward had been and this inspired me to apply for my current role.

“Creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere”

I provide support in all children’s areas of the hospital: Day Unit, Children’s Outpatient Department, Paediatric Emergency Assessment and Children’s Short Stay Assessment Unit. I also support children who attend appointments throughout the Trust such as in the plaster room, with a nurse practitioner and during x-rays.

My aim is to create an environment which has a warm, welcoming atmosphere and provide toys and activities to bring as much normality to the child as possible.

Play is at the centre of a healthy child’s life and is an important tool to help a child make sense of what is happening to them in hospital. It can be used to help prepare young patients for painful procedures and offer a distraction throughout.

There are a variety of ways I prepare children, such as using photograph books, role play, medical kits and puppets. Parents often feel helpless while their child is having an unpleasant procedure and I offer support, ideas and advice to help them understand the situation.

“It’s great to be able to bring a smile to a child’s face during a hospital visit”

My role also involves using distraction during procedures, for example having bloods taken, a cannula inserted, an x-ray or stitches. There are various ways that you can distract a child, such as books, ipads, bubbles and puppets. This again depends on the age or stage of development and the child’s interests.  

This helps to limit the amount of distress caused to the child, as well as making the procedure easier to carry out. This will also give the child more confidence to return to hospital again and has a positive impact on the perception of pain.

My job is very varied and different every day. I work with an amazing team of professionals who are very supportive and caring. I feel very passionate about my job and find it very rewarding, it’s great to be able to bring a smile to a child’s face during a hospital visit.

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