Hospitalized Kids Become Doctors for a Day

On March 8, 2016, doctors will hand over their white coats and stethoscopes to a group of very special caregivers – hospitalized kids. Becoming “Doctors for a Day,” pediatric patients will switch roles with their caregivers as they treat pretend illnesses and broken bones. Their patients (doctors and nurses) will lie on gurneys positioned in the lobby of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, which will become a waiting room and clinical area for the afternoon. The young doctors will even be given the opportunity to give “shots” with needle-less syringes.

“We want our patients to feel comfortable while staying at our hospital,” says St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Child Life Supervisor Christi Schwichtenberg. “By allowing patients to play the part of the doctor, they may be less anxious about the procedures that will be performed on them at the hospital.” 

Schwichtenberg and other Child Life Specialists at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital coordinate the “Doctors for a Day” activities to celebrate national Child Life Month. Child Life Specialists use play, education and self-expression to help sick kids adjust to the hospital experience. From interactive story time to psychological preparation for surgery, and from holiday crafts to play with a special medical procedures doll, the Child Life team helps patients view their illnesses and hospital stay as secondary to enjoying the thrills of a normal childhood.