Lizzie Penn

Lizzie Penn is a Play Specialist who works on Badger Ward, intensive care, neonatal intensive care and the sleep unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

"Badger is for children with respiratory, airway and lung problems so we deal with children with lots of conditions – but one of the main ones is cystic fibrosis. We have children who come in for two or three weeks, sometimes every two or three months, but we’ve also had children who have been here over a year. We try to turn their bed space into a home-from-home.

"I work with children from the day they are born until late teens. It’s very diverse. I prepare them for operations and try to distract them from when they are having their procedures done. If anyone is having problems getting through something like physiotherapy or they don’t want to eat, I try to come up with fun ways to help them. I also try to relieve boredom, which is probably the biggest part of the job and the hardest part.

"A lot of patients have brothers and sisters who come in and they get bored too so we work with them as well. I also work with physiotherapists, dieticians, the school, social workers and lots of psychologists – we all work as a team. That’s one of the nicest things about the job.

"No two days are ever the same. I like meeting and working with so many different people – I’ve been at the hospital for 15 years and worked with thousands of children! I get to go to different wards and every single thing I do is different from the day before, which is brilliant."

Lizzie Penn