Hospital play specialists plan and supervise activities with children in hospital to help them express their feelings through play as a means of communication. They encourage children to develop their creative skills to show their thoughts and worries relating to hospital.
Play specialists work with children of all ages. Their work includes:
Using play to welcome children to the hospital.
Preparing them to cope with surgery or explaining any medical procedures.
Enabling them to manage fears about surgery or about separation from parents/carers.
Using specific play techniques to minimise stressful events by acting them out in advance.
Using play as a distraction while children are undergoing stressful or painful procedures.
Supporting families, including siblings of patients.
Advising parents/carers and staff on appropriate play for sick and injured children.
You will need to study for the Level 4 Professional Diploma in Specialised Play for Sick Children and Young People. In order to be eligible for this course you will need:
An appropriate qualification in a subject such as childcare, art, drama, music therapy, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, social work or teaching.
At least 3 years recent and relevant experience of working with children.
To be at least 20 years old.
It is possible to begin working in this area as a hospital play assistant and with experience and further training progress into the role of play specialist. Play assistants are required to have experience and a qualification in a relevant field.
Find out more about working as a hospital play specialist and search for jobs on the NHS website.