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Patients Reverse Roles To Become Doctors For A Day

Fri, 03/23/2012 - 6:30am

(PRNewswire-USNewswire) This week doctors and nurses at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital handed over their white coats and stethoscopes to a group of very special caregivers - hospitalized kids. Becoming "Doctors for a Day," pediatric patients switched roles with their caregivers and treated pretend illnesses and broken bones. Their patients (hospital team members) were treated on gurneys positioned in the hospital's lobby, which became a waiting room and clinical area for the afternoon.

The young doctors even had 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 Leah Frohnerath. "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."

Each year, Frohnerath and other specialists at St. Joseph's 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 team helps patients view their illnesses and hospital stay as secondary to enjoying the thrills of a normal childhood.

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital is Tampa's first dedicated children's hospital, and part of the BayCare Health System. It is the third largest children's hospital in Florida.

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