We’re showcasing the work of different members of our amazing staff at King's, looking at all areas of the hospital. This week we spent the day with Laura Worsfold, a Play Specialist on Rays of Sunshine ward.
Laura has worked in the NHS for 15 years and started at King’s in 2009. She used to be a play specialist on the children’s surgical ward and in the Emergency Department.
Laura arrives at the hospital at 8am, ready to start her day on the ward at 8.30am. She gets a handover to find out what's happened over night and the goes to check the Play Room and make sure it's tidy and safe for the children to play in.
At 9am Laura goes to see Molly, a 4-year-old patient who's been on the ward for about 5 weeks to have a chat and find out what she's been up to. A big part of Laura's role involves getting to know patients and their families, so that they trust her.
At 10.30am Laura sets up syringe painting in Molly's room - it encourages her to get out of bed and get moving without it seeming too much like physio work.
Laura says: "I’d describe my role as supporting children and young people through their hospital admissions, as well as offering support to their families. I explain procedures at a level that a child or young person can understand and allow them time to ask any questions. As a play specialist I use normalised play to help make a child's time in hospital less daunting. When children come into hospital they are often at their most vulnerable. Play helps them to adjust!"
Next Laura has a play session with Evan, a 2-year-old patient who has spent all his life so far in hospital due to his medical condition. They play with mega blocks, doing some normalising play to explore the sounds the blocks make.
Laura stops for lunch at 1pm and catches up with her team!
At 2pm Laura goes to support a 12-year-old patient through a biopsy. They first met at the 2017 British Transplant Games but this is the first time she’s met him on the ward. It helps that she already has a rapport with him and knows him from outside the hospital environment.
First of all, Laura asks how the patient is feeling about the biopsy – he’s quite quiet about it so Laura can tell that he’s probably feeling nervous. Laura puts the 3D TV on in the treatment room and plays some soothing music to help the patient relax before the procedure. She explains what will happen during the procedure. Laura sees that he is scared so offers to stay with him throughout.
Laura has arranged for 13-year-old Suleman, who's waiting for a liver transplant, to visit the helipad to get him out of bed and outside in the fresh air. Some patients are isolated on a ward for a long time so it can make a big difference if they're able to get outside.
At 4pm Laura catches up on her emails and writes up her notes from the day. At 4.30pm Laura heads home, after a busy day at work!
We hope you enjoyed finding out what a normal day at work looks like for a play specialist at King's!