Lisa’s pioneering work helps children and young people through play
A Swansea University student who has pioneered a way of helping children in hospital to understand their own medical procedures through play has achieved academic success.
Forty year old Lisa Morgan from Bryn, Port Talbot, has been awarded a Master’s degree in Developmental and Therapeutic Play at a Degree and Award Congregation for Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences held in the City and County of Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall today (Tuesday, January 27). She was supported at the ceremony by her proud family, including her husband, John, her son Dylan, her father, Ken and mother-in-law, Susan.
Lisa has been a nursery nurse for 20 years, and was working as a play leader in Morriston Hospital when she first decided to apply for the Master’s Degree. Her work with children led her to develop a passion in relation to hospital play, and she decided to implement the use of puppets to help prepare the children for medical procedures and treatment. She also wanted to study and gain theoretical knowledge about children’s development and therapeutic play at University.
Lisa said: ‘I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to study at Swansea University on a part-time basis to further develop my knowledge of therapeutic play. I work within a team of five play leaders and we see children from birth up to 16 years old. We provide structured age appropriate play in the playroom or at the bedside for short stay or long term children. I have seen first-hand how vitally important it is to prepare the children for their procedures using age appropriate language that they can understand. I encourage the children to blend the fantasy with the reality of their admission, and by introducing the puppets this enables them to use their imagination to create their own story about their hospital experience. This helps to relax them and distracts them from uncomfortable procedures, which in turn makes their family less anxious.’
Her University studies helped Lisa to develop a deeper understanding of this subject and have led to her giving guest lectures on this topic. She also co-authored a book chapter¹ focused on play for children in a hospital setting and is currently writing a full book proposal on developmental and therapeutic play for children in hospital with Dr Justine Howard from Swansea University. Her achievements in this area were also recognised when she was granted the runner-up prize in the Welsh RCN Nurse of the Year Awards 2014.
Lisa said: “Last year, from generous donations from the general public my department was able to purchase a whole family of puppets so that children across all wards could benefit from their use. My aim is to build upon this and help spread the word about the benefits of this kind of therapeutic play for children across the whole of the hospital trust.”
Lisa’s personal tutor, Dr Justine Howard said: “Lisa was nervous when she joined the MA Developmental and Therapeutic Play programme as a part time student in 2011. She had no undergraduate degree and entered via the non-graduate route based on her extensive experience of working with children as a play professional at Morriston Hospital. Her dedication, commitment and enthusiasm has meant that Lisa excelled in all elements of the programme and was consistently one of our highest achieving students.”
“I was fortunate enough to spend time with Lisa on the ward at Morriston which gave me first hand insight into the exceptional work she does as a developmental and therapeutic play specialist at the hospital. Not only does Lisa’s work have a profound impact on the lives of the children with whom she works, but also, on the lives of the parents and carers who she tirelessly makes time for in her busy schedule.”