Stacy Collins, RN, a nurse in the Pediatric Emergency Room at UF Health Jacksonville, not only experiences the incredible impact of child life specialists while at work every day, but her family was recently on the receiving end of their care. Her son was having severe stomach pains and she brought him in for treatment. When it was discovered his pain was a larger issue that required surgery, the team of child life specialists came for a visit to help prepare him for surgery.
“My son was given a heart-shaped pillow and a teddy bear to comfort and accompany him during his stay in the hospital. The simple gestures that will be a lasting memory of the excellent care he received during his time here,” said Collins.
Collins says her son thinks the world of his bear and the way he was treated by the entire care team.
Her son stated, “My bear kept me calm whenever I was nervous, like when I was in the operating room waiting for surgery. I hugged him tight.”
The staff even allowed the teddy bear to go back to the operating room with her son, but made sure that the bear was properly equipped with a mask and hat. When he was in post-op, the teddy bear was still at his side with a bandage on his belly.
“It is always a valuable asset when the child life specialists are available to assist during procedures. They prepare children in age appropriate ways and create useful distractions,” said Collins.