Meet Nita, a Certified Child Life Specialist at Richmond University Medical Center, in Staten Island, New York.
Being a one-person child life program based in the Trauma Department, Nita meets with every incoming pediatric patients in the trauma bay. Her focus is on supporting, distracting, and educating her patients on everything happening from the moment they arrive, at an incredibly high-anxiety, high-stress, and scary time for kids.
“My goal is to help children stay as calm as possible, listen to them and their concerns, and explain what is happening in a developmentally appropriate way,” explains Nita.
In these moments, when kids need it most, Nita is there to provide comfort and guide her patients through their diagnoses and time in the hospital.
Nita enjoys helping pediatric patients prepare for upcoming tests and procedures, finding it a rewarding experience to see the kids successfully tackle a scary situation. During these moments, she uses Starlight Virtual Reality to distract kids during procedures. Plus, Starlight’s VR units can be used for children that are admitted to the inpatient unit for extended periods of time as a way to help them “escape” from their hospital room-Nita loves that she is able to utilize it regardless of her patient’s mobility!
“The gowns and toy deliveries are my favorite because they are used in all units that pediatric patients frequent—from the ER to inpatient pediatrics to the operating room. Offering a fun [character]-themed gown to a child in the pre-operative room, or letting patients pick a fun toy after a stressful procedure in the unit can do so much to put them at ease,” explains Nita.
Child life specialists, like Nita, change the hospital experience for kids, bringing moments of support, care and comfort when they need it most. We are grateful that our donor-funded programs are provided free of charge to hospitals like Richmond University Medical Center.
Starlight programs make a positive impact on a child’s hospital experience. The deliver happiness when kids need it most.