Boredom is Edwina Smith’s enemy, and after five years at CHOP, she is good at chasing it away with her infectious enthusiasm and a playroom full of toys.
A child activity coordinator on the 9 South inpatient unit, Smith rounds from room to room, keeping watch for kids who might benefit from a toy or a game.
Spying a baby’s crib unadorned, she approaches the mother: “How about a mobile for the crib?”
When older kids shrug in indifference, she persists with offerings of movies or video games.
“I approach young kids with a toy already in my hand, so they know I’m ready to play,” says Smith. “No ouchies from me!”
Life as an inpatient can be hard on kids, and many of the neurology patients on 9 South are being monitored by camera for seizures, meaning that they need to stay put in their rooms.
Today is 6-year-old Patrick’s birthday.
Smith and the unit’s child life specialist, Samira Moosavi, pull together the nurses to sing him a happy birthday, delivering a cheerful banner and depositing three wrapped presents at the foot of his bed.
Patrick is nonverbal but watches them with happy eyes that slowly flutter to sleep. He’ll have presents to admire when he wakes up.