Why we fund this service?

Here at the Noah’s Ark Charity we believe passionately that the play specialist team offer an invaluable service to children and their families at the hospital and we are proud to support and part-fund the work they do.

Read how the team have supported Noah’s Ark patients Eva, Fliss and Rose here.

What is hospital play?

The hospital play specialist team use a variety of therapeutic tools to help children overcome any fears or concerns about their treatments.

The team works closely with the rest of the multi-disciplinary team to help patients and their families cope with the following:

• To prepare children for hospital procedures
• To help children cope with anxieties and feelings
• To organise play and art activities at children’s bedsides or in the playroom
• To contribute to clinical assessments based on observations during play routines
• To encourage peer group friendships to develop
• To help organise special events and parties for both patients and visitors

Watch play specialist Sian talk about hospital play

What qualifications are needed to become a play specialist?

Hospital play assistants will need a professional childcare qualification at level 3 in order to work within the team.

A basic grade hospital play specialist and more senior hospital play staff will usually need to hold a Level 4 Diploma in Specialised Play for Sick Children and Young People/ Edexcel Certificate in Hospital Play Specialism/HPSC/HPSEB or the Foundation Degree in Healthcare Play Specialism.

The team also needs additional training in child protection and safeguarding issues.

More senior hospital play staff will also require relevant post-qualifying experience.

Job vacancies

For vacancies at Noah’s Ark please check NHS Jobs website and local press. You could also contact the human resources department of the NHS trust to enquire about opportunities.

How many play staff does the charity support?

Since 2013 we have supported the work of 10 members of the play specialist team. We remain committed to supporting the invaluable work that they do. If you would like to help support the team please donate today.

Meet some of the team

Sue Reardon

My name is Sue Reardon and I am the Play Services Manager

This means…
I have worked for Noah’s Ark for the past 2yrs. But I have worked for Cardiff and Vale Trust for 26 years. I am employed by Cardiff & Vale UHB, but my funding comes from the Noah’s Ark Charity

You might meet me…

On the wards when some of the team are off sick

I will help you…

When I am working on the wards, I can explain to you what will be going on whilst you are in hospital and help you understand and try and take away some of your worries

I love my job because. . .

I get to work with such a professional, hardworking and supportive Therapeutic Play Department

Interesting fact about me. . .
When I am not working, I love spending time with my granddaughter.

Louise Brokof

My name is Louise and I am a play assistant on Rainbow Day beds

This means…
I look after children who are receiving oncology and haematology treatment

I have worked at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales for…
7 years.

You might meet me at the hospital because …
you need a blood test or are receiving chemo treatment

I will help you by …
listening to you, supporting you through procedures, explaining things in a way you can understand and having fun.

I love my job because….
I am helping and supporting children and their families through their hospital journey.

Interesting fact about me …
I love gardening – growing all sorts from green beans and spinach to broccoli. I would love an allotment.

Sharon Payne

My name is Sharon Payne, I am a Play Assistant at The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales Starfish Children’s Outpatients.
This means…

I look after children who have problems with a phobia of needles to scans of the heart etc.

I have worked at Noah’s Ark 2nd Phase. . .
just over a year, but in the Hospital for 8 years.

You might meet me at the hospital because. . . 
Your GP may need a blood sample, or Consultant/Nurse needs to do further investigations on why you’re feeling poorly. Or it may even be that you’re seeing somebody for the first time because you’re having a procedure done.

I will help you by. . .
organising daily play in the play area or at the bedside if working on the wards. I provide play to achieve developmental goals, contribute to clinical judgements through their play – based observations. I also use play to prepare a child for clinical procedure such as having bloods taken, sweat test, allergy tests, MRIs and other scans. I work closely with the Diabetes Team. I will accompany the child to the treatment room and distract while the procedure is being undertaken. I also prepare a child for different procedures and follow them through. I will support families and siblings during their visits to clinics.

I love my job because. . .
the look on a child’s face when they come in for bloods/procedure and the look of relief when they leave is priceless. I know the work and time I have spent with that child has been worth it.

Interesting fact about me. . .
I helped to raise £3000 for Noah’s Ark last September by doing a Skydive!

Kelly Enticott

My name is Kelly I am a play assistant on Island Ward and Rocket Out patients.

This means…

I work alongside the play specialist providing preparation for procedures, distraction during procedures and help with recovery all through play. We also help with fears and anxiety, such as needle fears or not taking medications. I also help to continue normal child development while children are in hospital, especially long term patients. We try to make the hospital experience one they feel they can cope with emotionally and physically.

I have worked for Noahs Ark for. . . 
10 months, before this I was a Nursery Nurse.

You may meet me at the hospital if. . . 
you need to visit a clinic, for bloods, if you need any help with taking medicine (reward charts etc) or if you have to stay in hospital for any reason.

I will help you by. . .
showing you or explaining what is happening or what to expect from procedures. I do this using medical equipment, pictures, videos, stories, role play, distraction play and much more. I will also help by trying to bring you some enjoyment and make you smile even though you don’t feel very well.

I love my job because. . . 
of the variety and diversity of the patients’ needs. Everyone and every day is different. I feel I help children process what is happening to them, giving them a voice or outlet from what is going on aiding their general wellbeing. Hopefully making things a little easier for them. It’s very sad at times but very rewarding also.

Interesting fact about me. . .
Since starting at the hospital I have begun to learn Makaton (sign language). I will use this to communicate with patients, and I will use it to teach patients.

Kimberley Harries

My name is Kimberley and I am a hospital play specialist on Rainbow Ward – Paediatric Oncology Ward.
This means I help children receiving treatment for cancer and haematology conditions.

I have worked on the play team. . .
for about 8 years.

You might see me at the hospital if. . . 
you need to have some scans or some blood tests or treatment.

I will help you by. . . 
explaining what is going on whilst you are in hospital. I can explain what happens when you have scans or need blood test and show you that you don’t need to worry. I explain what caner is and why you need treatment. I can also explain how chemo will make you feel and why. I have lots of books and pictures to help you understand.

I love my job because. . .
I get to help families through difficult times. I can help make what is a scary and uncertain environment a little less scary and hopefully even a little bit fun!

Interesting fact about me. . .
I love upcycling old furniture.

Stephanie Barrow

My name is Stephanie Barrow and I am a Play Therapist, looking after children who are coming in for surgery.

I have worked at Noah’s Ark. . .
for 1 year.

You might meet me at the hospital . . .
if you are coming in for an operation or feeling poorly and may need an operation.

I will help you by helping you. . .
Understand what is going on and what is going to happen. I will also give you opportunities to play and make your time in hospital better.

I love my job because. . .
it’s really rewarding helping children to get better through play and watching them go home well.

Interesting fact about me . . .
I LOVE dogs! Especially my Bichon called Bruno!

Polly Smith

My name is Polly and I am a hospital play specialist
This means I look after children who come to Jungle Ward, which is a general medical ward, so I deal with a bit of everything!

I have worked at Noah’s Ark since. . .
it opened 10 years ago. Before that I worked at Llandough Children’s Ward for 15 years, so a total of 25 years!

You might meet me at the hospital because. . .
you’ve been admitted to Jungle Ward and you’re having some sort of invasive procedure or having some investigations done. You may be unsure, upset or nervous about this.

I will help you by carefully explaining the procedure to you. What will happen and why and try and take away some of the worries. I can stay with you for it too if you like!

I love my job because. . .
it’s an amazing feeling to think you might be able to help some of the amazing children and families and make their journey on the ward a bit happier.

Interesting fact about me. . .
I have the bendiest arms in the play team!!

Sian Hulbert

My name is Sian and I’m a hospital play specialist on Gwdihw Ward.
This means I look after children who have surgical problems and those going for MRI/CT or X-rays.

I have worked at Noah’s Ark since. . . 
Feb 2015 but prior to this I have worked on the paediatric units for 30 years.

You might meet me because. . .
You are having surgery or any procedures on the surgical ward.
I will help you through support, explanation and distraction.

I love my job because. . .
I meet lots of fantastic people.

Interesting fact about me. . .
I’ve done yoga for 15 years and can do the lotus position!

Linda Lewis

My name is  Linda Lewis and I am a therapeutic play specialist.
I look after children who have problems with – anything, on Gwdihw Ward

I have worked at Noah’s ark..

since February 2015, but have worked in paediatrics for the past 24yrs

You might meet me at the hospital because. ..

You are coming into the hospital for an operation.

I love my job because. . .
I get great satisfaction in helping children and their families during their time on the ward and above all seeing them make a full recovery

Interesting fact about me. . .

I love watching rugby and spending time with my family

Sue Simpson

My name is Sue Simpson and I am a Hospital Play Specialist

This means…
I look after children who have problems with either their hearts or kidneys

I have worked for the Trust for. . . More than 15 years and moved over to the Children’s Hospital when the second phase opened in March 2015.

You might meet me at the hospital because. . .
You need to come to have either your heart or kidney problems investigated or treated.

I will help you by explaining what is going to happen, and by supporting you through your treatment, we can even spend some time playing and having fun.

I love my job because. . .
Every day is different, and I get to meet some wonderful children and families

Interesting fact about me. . .
Is that I love art and craft and make all my own greetings cards.

Emma Mitchell

My name is Emma and I am a hospital play specialist.
This means I look after children in the children’s kidney centre and Gwdihw ward.

I have worked at Noah’s Ark since. . .
We moved into the hospital in February but have worked in paediatrics for many years.

You might meet me at the hospital because. . .
You have to visit the kidney centre to see the doctor or even you need an operation.

I love my job because. . .
it’s lovely to help you get better and help you get home.

Interesting fact about me. . .
I enjoy watching Formula One racing.

Juliet Hughes

My name is Juliet Hughes and I am a Play Specialist

I have worked for the NHS since 1982 and have worked at The Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales’s since it opened

You might meet me…

a patient needs distraction or preparation and support for procedures

I will help you…

Explaining through different methods what will happen during your procedures. Supporting and distracting you through procedures

I love my job because. . .

I get to make a positive out of a negative, helping to make hospitalization as un traumatic as possible; indeed some of our children have such a good experience with our team that they are disappointed at being discharged

Interesting fact about me. . .
I have a huge passion for live music and attend at least 2 live gigs a week. I also have an online site that promotes live music; with 2000 members

Clair Jones

My name is Clair and I am a hospital play assistant
This means I look after children who stay on our general medical ward (Jungle) and would benefit from general or therapeutic play.

I have worked at Noah’s Ark for. . . six and a half years

You might meet me because. . .
You have been admitted to Jungle Ward and you would enjoy some playtime by your bedside or in the playroom. You may also benefit from distraction if having a blood test.

I will help you by trying to make. . . your hospital stay a fun and positive one.

I love my job because I meet so . . .
Many lovely families, who with their strength and courage inspire me every day.

Interesting fact about me. . .
I probably have the loudest singing voice out of the whole play team!