#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. Meet Diana Tustin, child life specialist at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).
“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a child life specialist is helping children discover their ‘superpowers’: bravery, confidence, strength, courage and hope, to name a few. Children process information from the world around them much differently than adults do and have distinct needs when it comes to managing the effects of stress and trauma. Children will always remember a hospital visit – my job is to help infants, children, youth and their families cope with the stress and uncertainty of hospitalization and implement interventions that reduce fear, anxiety and pain.
There are several play rooms throughout the hospital. Part of my role is coordinating donations to make sure our play rooms are stocked with toys. Play is imperative for children and essential in a hospital setting – it facilitates coping, mastery and self-expression and normalizes their environment. Play is vital to not only growth and development, but also to the healing process. I am so grateful to the many organizations that help us make our hospital a child friendly environment!
I have always worked with children – they have a way of energizing me, teaching me, inspiring me and amazing me all at the same time. It was when my brother was a patient in MGH’s intensive care unit (ICU) that I became interested in the field. His children were young at the time, and we were at a loss with how to help them. I started volunteering with MGH’s Child Life Specialist and after working with her I soon realized I had found my calling. It is an incredibly rewarding profession and I am blessed to be part of a team at MGH that values the unique needs of infants, children, youth and their families!”