Thank you for the past 47 years Lyn

Lyn Clark, a health play specialist at our Trust, is leaving today (Wednesday 30 August) after working with us for over 47 years!

Beginning her work at Oldchurch Hospital in 1976 as a nursery nurse, Lyn embarked on her journey to becoming a health play specialist in 2000 when she completed her training, only taking time out to have her children.An image of Lyn Clark

Lyn has shared some of her proudest moments, thoughts, and reflections of her time with us.

What made you decide that becoming a health play specialist was right for you?

I started out my career as a nursery nurse and I enjoyed it. An opportunity came up in the department I was working in and decided to go ahead and do the training. It is rewarding to be able to help children and their families when they most need it.

What is your proudest achievement from your time working here?

My proudest achievement has to be the fundraising I used to do before we were able to get toys through the charity. Being the only play specialist at the time, I used to go out and fundraise in Romford to raise awareness about the importance of play. I would often go on local radio stations, or write letters to local businesses and try to spread awareness. We managed to raise enough money to buy toys, play equipment and even uniforms for staff.

One moment that sticks in my mind was speaking to a member of the public who wasn’t aware of play work and the lack of funding we had back then. After I explained it, she emptied her whole purse and was keen to donate!

I am also proud that play has finally got the recognition it deserves as being an important role within hospitals. We see lots of sick children, and it’s important that they are as comfortable as possible while they are with us. Play specialists are an important role in preparing the children for their treatment and helping them understand what is going on around them in a way they will understand.

Are there any changes that stand out, comparing when you first started at the Trust to now?

There have been lots of changes since I first started, one I can think of is that parents never used to be allowed to stay overnight with their children, which was very distressing for many of them. Luckily this is different now as we take a much more family-centred approach to care.

We also had a lot less toys back then so children often would bring in their own toys.

What are your plans for the future, what are you moving on to next?

I’m looking forward to spending some time in my holiday home in Spain with my partner John. My children, who are now in their 40s, have their own children, so I am looking forward to spending some time with my grandchildren.

I also always used to love swimming, I used to go three times a week, so I am hoping to take that back up again.

Do you have any parting ‘words of wisdom’ that you could share with us?

Try not to take your work home with you. It’s easy to carry your troubles of the day home with you, but do try not to.

Thank you, and good luck Lyn. We hope you enjoy some well-deserved time with your family!

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