Taking away the fear


POSTED: Friday, March 15, 2013 - 3:46pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 12:20pm

Coming to a hospital as a child can be scary, but one growing job field is helping quell those fears. At Edinburg Children's Hospital the go to girl is Brielle Swerdlin.

"A child life specialist is the person in the hospital that who works with the fears and anxiety for the children," said Brielle Swerdlin, Child Life Specialist.

A professional of smiles and of play, Swerdlin takes confusing doctor jargon and makes it understandable.

"They just hear big scary words that they don't understand," said Swerdlin . "A CAT scan, to us we know what that means, to us we know it's just a picture of the body, however a kid thinks a cat is going to scan their body or a cat is going to rub over them."

It's kind of funny, but in reality it's true. So, when Naomi Contreras, 6, was admitted, Swerdlin was there. She started by helping her understand what procedures the doctor's were going to perform.

"One of the main things we use the doll for is to practice IV starts," explained Swerdlin. "It is a needle, and a lot of kids, and parents even, don't understand what is actually happening."

This was just the case for Contreras. But Swerdlin isn't just there for the kids.

"I like to joke, yes I am the child life specialist, but I really am the family life specialist when it comes to the hospital. We do provide family centered care which is more than just about the patient, it is about the overall family experience," said Swerdlin.

Swerdlin is one of two child life specialists in the Rio Grande Valley. She helps all children from ago zero to 18 years old.


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