If you've seen the movie Patch Adams, then you understand the role that clowns can have in adding a little laughter and joy to healthcare procedures, especially for children.
It is easy to imagine how frightening and intimidating serious medical procedures would be for young children, especially children who are non-verbal, or who speak a different language from their medical attendants.
Medical clowns can break through fear and frustration and turn a medical procedure into a cooperative exercise instead of a doctor verses patient scenario.
According to the Good magazine article, "Humane Clown Posse" by Eliana Bar-El, a group of medical clowns in Israel, called Dream Doctors, use medical clowns to improve patient experiences all over the world.
"In Israel, medical clowns are involved in over 40 medical procedures, including accompanying patients to CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation. Clowns in Israel also work solo to initiate a more interactive, one-on-one relationship with patients."
The clowns are able to perform medical procedures, not just serve as a distraction or offer a performance in the background. A clown as a medical practitioner is especially helpful when medical exams have to be performed on children who have been neglected or abused by adults. Clowns help a child relax and can use pantomime and mirroring to help a child participate in their care so they do not feel re-traumatized by procedures that feel outside of their control.
While medical clowning requires a great deal of training, there may be ways that you can think outside of the box to help your patients relax and feel like a participant in their medical care. If you are interested in finding a healthcare position that will let you think outside the box, we can help! If your organization is looking for talented professionals that are ready to try something new to increase the compassion of the care you can offer, please contact us.
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