Two St Peter’s Health Play Specialists, Izabela Wakula and Nicola Ruff, graduated on Tuesday 25 November, each with a Foundation Degree in healthcare play specialism from the University of West London.

Health Play Specialists provide pre-operative medical play, distractions at medical interventions; comfort and help patients and parents relax as well as help overcome anxieties. They provide many other activities including: working with specialist nurses in the diabetes support group; parties and some therapeutic play. The newly qualified Health Play Specialists are able to use the course to help them provide better care for our younger patients.

Izabela said: “The course took two years at university with placement at hospitals at the same time. I have had a wonderful time at University College London Hospital (UCLH) where I learnt from the best Health Play Specialists in the profession. The course provides students with in depth knowledge of child development in the hospital environment, while the placement gives you the confidence in your practice.”

Nicola added: “Being a play specialist is not simply playing with Lego or colouring in... It is far more in-depth. On a typical day we work with children and young adults through the difficult times: surgeries, medical interventions, illnesses being diagnosed. We provide pre-operative medical play before surgeries, which helps children to have a better understanding about what is going to happen. We have some tears but also lots of fun.

“Play is vital to a child and young people during their time in hospital, as it aides their recovery and allows them to relax. I can honestly say that it is my dream job.”


The photo above shows Isabela Wakula (left) and Nicola Ruff (right) at their graduation.