Play specialist

Sasha Morris is a play specialist, which means she encourages patients to use play as a way of preparing for surgery and procedures.

If the audio is not playing, please listen on AudioBoom.

Sasha Morris: Play specialist (audio transcript)

Sasha: “Morning Kyomi. How are you doing today?

Kyomi: “Good morning.”

Sasha: “What have you been up to?”

Kyomi: “Doing my sticker chart”

Sasha: “Right Well you’ve finished your sticker chart so today we’re gonna make your timetable aren’t we?”

Sasha: “Hello my name is Sasha Morris and I’m a hospital play specialist here at Great Ormond Street”

Sasha: "So what have you got your stickers for?”

Kyomi: “Medicine and physio and school”

Sasha: “You’ve been doing all your physio correctly, you've been going down to school and you’ve got them for twice a day, so that’s really good isn’t it?”

Sasha: “The role of the play specialist is very varied. We do lots of general play for the children. We also do a lot of play preparation with the children, which involves preparing them for surgery, preparing them for procedures they are having done like dressing changes, pin site cleaning, blood tests and things as well. So lots of distraction involved. We organise parties for children’s birthdays and birthday cakes and presents and just kind of helping families and siblings cope with being in hospital.” 

Sasha: “So, we’ve got your timetable and it’s got all the days of the week on there. What we are going to put in them bits.”

Kyomi: “Get dressed.”

Sasha: “Get dressed - so we’re gonna get dressed and then what happens?”

Kyomi: “Go on my machine”

Sasha: “Yep so you can put that in for your morning one. Then what happens after that?”

Kyomi: “Go to school and play with you”

Sasha: “All patients are welcome to come and see a play specialist. We have lots of play specialists around the hospital, usually some specialise on certain wards, like this is an orthopaedic ward so we would work with children who have orthopaedic surgery.

“I’m actually working with Kyomi today. And she’s a cystic fibrosis patient, but she’s on our ward at the moment, but she’s doing lots of activities. She’s probably going to be with us for two weeks so it’s just kind of keeping her entertained and we’ve been making a timetable for her and a sticker chart cos she has to do some physio, she has to take her medicines. So we’re trying to make it a bit easier and more fun for her to stay in hospital.”

Sasha: “Right, so let’s decorate your timetable. So we’ve done the background. You've got lots of stripy colours and then we need to cut this one out first, your timetable, and then we can stick that on and you can see how much space you’ve got…”

Sasha: “The skills you probably need to be a play specialist would be good communication, be quite creative, patience is quite good, kind of dealing with tough times really as well, probably not be too squeamish of blood if you’re helping children have blood tests and things like that as well, so that always helps.

“But it’s fun job and there’s always something exciting happening and every day is a different day.”

Kyomi: “Do you like your job?”

Sasha: “Yeah, it’s fun isn’t it, having this job?”

Kyomi: “Cos you get to look after children”

Sasha: “Yep, get to look after the children. Is it good to be playing while you’re in hospital?”

Kyomi: “Yeah, it takes your mind off that you’re ill”

Sasha: “That’s right”

Sasha: “It’s a fun, happy place to be here, we’ve got lots of exciting things going on. Yes, there is some sad times but, you know, the good times far outweigh the sad times here and we do try to make it as fun and exciting for children as possible here.

“If I wasn’t a play specialist, before working here I probably would have been a nurse, but seeing how hard the nurses work I think I would have changed my mind. And I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but I just enjoy the job I do and I don’t think I could do anything else - I really enjoy it.

Sasha: “Right so shall we finish the rest later cos your physio has just poked her head round the door and I think she’s ready for your physio. We can finish off the rest later on and we promised to play a game later. What game were we going to play?"

Kyomi: “Hungry hippos.”

Sasha: “So we‘re gonna have a game later on, is that alright?”

Kyomi: “Yep, good.”

Sasha: “Right, see you later then.”

You’ve been listening to a podcast produced by Great Ormond Street Hospital in November 2010. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this, visit our website to hear more interviews from people who work here. This podcast does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.