There are countless occasions where we encounter pediatric patients on their iPads, watching a movie, or invested in a show on their television. Even though we could leave these patients be with their gadgets, we always want to make sure that we can enhance every environment to its fullest potential. In this next case, it needed a pause from tech time and a dose of human interaction.
So, with a child fully immersed in a digital world upon our arrival, how did we intercept the attention of this young boy who had BOTH an iPad and a TV on at the same time, and who didn’t even notice us or care for us when we came in?
It was magic. Literally. We used magic to show him something that was instantaneously amazing, live in front of him, to grab his attention. Magic, as well as live entertainment, is a powerful tool in our bag of tricks and is often used for these types of situations.
Once we captured his attention, we started to dig into his interests and created fun play based on the tiny snip-its of information we were able to acquire from our conversation. His body language expressed an improved mood as he perked up and began to smile more frequently, which happened just as a staff member walked into the room. “Wow! That’s the first time I’ve seen you smile since you’ve been here!” She exclaimed in regards to the patient.
With magic, we were able to create a magical transformation, allowing the patient to open up his personality and give the rest of the staff ways to connect with him. Ultimately, with this technique, the patient becomes more comfortable in his personalized healthcare experience to enhance his healing process.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Technology has its place and being entertained through TV and film can be fantastic when it evokes positive emotions. However, the power of human connection is essential to healing, which is at the heart of therapeutic medical clowning.
Connecting with patients has been our primary goal, but through these efforts, our work has trickled across the country and into the world of medical students. About a month ago, our Medical Clown Project director took a trip to the east coast to visit the University of Central Florida and talk to medical students about medical clowning.
The trip was a huge success in adding exposure to the practice of medical clowning in a place of future healthcare practitioners. To read the whole story in Orlando, click here.