A hospital play specialist is today saying her goodbyes as she retires after four decades looking after thousands of children across Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.
Clare Wise, 66 from Hartlepool, began her career at St Hilda’s before becoming part of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust in 2007. 40 years into her paediatrics career, Claire is saying her goodbyes to her much-loved colleagues at the Trust.
Working between the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, she has helped thousands of children during their long or short-term stay in hospital, supporting them and cheering them up with toys, books and puzzles.
She also supports children undergoing procedures that they might find frightening, such as MRI scans and surgeries, by making sure they understand the processes and keeping them calm and happy.
Clare said: “Sometimes you get to spend a lot of time with the certain children and you start to form a bond.
“But the best part of the job is seeing them go home, strange as it sounds. It means they’re on the mend and can get better in the comfort of their home.”
Over the past 14 years, she has worked as part of a close-knit team of play specialists at the Trust to develop and improve child support throughout the hospital.
Now that Clare is retired, she is looking forward to a relaxing month off over the festive period, spending time with her two grandchildren, before embarking on some trips in the new year, including a city break in London.
She continued: “I want to thank everyone at the Trust – my colleagues and the patients – for allowing me to do what I love to do and for supporting me along the way.”
Clare celebrated her retirement and said her goodbyes on the children’s ward with a well-deserved slice of cake with her colleagues.
Clare will be a much missed presence on the children’s ward but her dedication and impact to improving the service will certainly be remembered for years to come.