Hospital play specialists plan and supervise activities with children in
hospital and help them express their feelings through play. They
encourage children to develop their creative skills to show their
thoughts and worries relating to hospital, helping them to adapt to
any restrictions they may have resulting from hospitalisation.
They work with children of all ages. Their work involves: using play to welcome children to hospital; preparing them to cope with surgery or other procedures; enabling them to manage fears about separation from parents; encouraging children to keep up their usual interests; using specific play techniques to minimise stressful events by acting them out in advance.
They use play as a means of communication with young children, keeping them in touch with their community, teaching them facts regarding their illness and correcting any misplaced worries they may have in order to reduce anxiety. They may have some training in children's nursing before going into this role though many also train on the job.
Hospital play specialists may work full or part-time. They work
during the day, at weekends and during school holidays - children
may be in hospital all year round.
Hospital play specialists are based in special paediatric wards and other departments where children are admitted. Their work may involve physical activity such as bending and light lifting.
To be a hospital play specialist, you should:
Hospital play specialists are employed by NHS hospital trusts in
hospital wards, outpatient departments, accident and emergency
departments, child development centres, hospices and in community
work with community paediatricians. With further experience and
training, there may be opportunities for progression to team leader
or team manager.
If you would like to know anything about Hospital Play Specialist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Customer Response Team
One 90 High Holborn
Tel: 0870 240 9800
National Association of Hospital Play Staff (NAHPS)
Hospital Play Educational Trust (HPSET)
PO Box 30
Tel: 0161 439 5800
Midlothian Innovation Centre
Tel: 0131 440 9070