Champions for Children: Meet Tammy

Champions for Children: Meet TammyTammy Young is a Child Life Therapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to Woolworths and the Good Friday Appeal, The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) will be expanding its Child Life Therapy (CLT) program to the Emergency Department (ED), to reduce stress for patients, families and staff, and help make a visit to the hospital a more positive experience for everyone. We spoke to CLT Tammy to find out more about a day in her life at the hospital.

Hi Tammy! Tell us about yourself and your work at the RCH?

I have recently joined the RCH where I am employed to work in the ED. I have worked as CLT for over 8 years at another paediatric facility. I am passionate about ensuring we have children’s voices captured in the work we do. This includes children who may not be able to tells us, so focusing on nonverbal cues is important. I have two grown up children and love travelling.  

Can you explain the benefits of CLT?

CLT engage children, young people and their families to support their understanding and help them cope with the stress and uncertainty associated with hospitalisation. We use evidence-based, developmentally appropriate interventions including procedural preparation, distraction, medical and targeted therapeutic play to empower children and young people to gain mastery of their hospital experience. CLT help to promote positive healthcare experiences.

How do you see the expansion of CLT into the ED making a difference for our patients?

The Emergency Department can often be a child first experience with medical interventions.  The ED can also be a noisy and confronting environment. CLT have a vital role in supporting children and their families to understand what they need to do during their visit. CLT also help to create environments that meet the diverse needs of children and their families. We do this by assessing, preparing and supporting children during their hospital experiences. We also provide targeted medical and therapeutic play. Our aim is to minimise distress and promote coping strategies, in the hope to empower children to manage future medical interventions.

What three things would you take to a desert island and why?

  • Tent for shelter, somewhere to sleep
  • A fire-starting kit to keep me warm, cook food if I’m lucky enough to find or catch anything
  • And a boat. Hopefully I could get of the island once I have had enough!
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