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Spotlight on… play specialist Cathy Gill

23.04.15 Categories: Staff stories

Cathy is a play specialist at Evelina London. Her role involves helping children to cope with anxiety and difficult feelings, distracting them with play during uncomfortable medical procedures, supporting families and siblings and encouraging friendships to develop between the children in hospital.

Cathy is also a Charity Champion and gets involved in lots of our fundraising events. Donations are very much valued by play specialists as they enable them to buy special sensory toys and also support the annual Transplant Games that Cathy helps to organise. Here she tells us what it's like to work at Evelina London and her proudest achievements to date.

What is the name of your role?

I am a Senior Health Play Specialist.

Which part of Evelina do you work in?

I work in the Children’s Nephro-Urology Service (Children's kidneys and bladder service which includes patients with chronic kidney disease, Kidney Transplant, Nephrotic Syndrome, bladder and bowel problems).

What does a typical day look like for you?

portrait of Cathy

Providing distraction, preparation or therapeutic play for children and young adults who are having invasive procedures, such as blood tests, or surgery. Supporting children and young adults with their chronic condition and helping them to find their own coping strategies and understanding of long term treatment and medication. Offering a comfortable and therapeutic environment and being an advocate where possible.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping children and young people to face their challenges and overcome their fears and anxieties.

Which part of your job is most challenging?

The difficulties that many of the children and young people face on a daily basis.

What is your favourite thing about Evelina London?

The multi-disciplinary team approach we offer.

What’s your proudest achievement in your career to date?

Over 25 years there have been a few, I am not sure I could name just one! I have won a National Play Specialist award and the Trust award with Grainne Walsh (Play Specialist) for our role with the Transplant Games. I have also been invited to a couple of my patients’ weddings, but I would say meeting so many amazing patients and families over the years would be top!

What do you like to do outside of work in your free time?

Apart from planning for the British Transplant Games – spending time with family and friends!

Name one thing that the patients might not know about you.

That I like to talk!

If you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?

A camera so I could capture the memories!

Find out more about how donations to Evelina London help staff like Cathy provide the best experience they can to children in hospital.