About Kristen Beckler, CTRS, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford
Pediatric Emergency Department

Child Whisperer Series: Making the Most of the Holidays in the ED

“Ugh I have to work Christmas Eve and Christmas day.”Child Whisperer Series: Making the Most of Holidays in the ED
“I hate not being with my family for the holidays.”
“Hanukkah won’t be the same this year if I can’t be with my Dad.”
“New Year’s Eve in the ED, sounds like a blast… said no one ever.”

These are just a few of the comments I have heard over the last few weeks leading up to the holidays. The last one is courtesy of myself. While I complain, deep down I know it’s not so bad. If you look hard enough I have found you can find the holiday spirit all over the Emergency Department. There are also easy tips and tricks to incorporate the spirit in the medicine and care that we provide to our patients.

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2016-12-25T16:38:05-08:00

Child Whisperer Series: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

NeedleCartoon“Can you help me? I have a patient who is what I like to call, a kid at heart,” asked one of our ED adult nurses. As we walked to the adult side of the ED the nurse let me know that this patient had intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The adult patient required IV access and had already been poked a few times. Although I do not often work with adults, I knew that remembering a few key Child Life principles could help us care for the patient.

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2016-11-11T19:39:41-08:00

Child Whisperer Series: After the Pediatric Code Blue

“We need to debrief” said the nurse manager after the medical team walked out of the critical care room after pronouncing a child who died after a traumatic accident. The social worker pointed at me (I am a Child Life Specialist) and looked at her and said “It’s our code blue now. We have to wait. We have a job to do”. Which was her way of saying we still had a lot of work to do with the family. At that point I walked in a room with the social worker and devastated parents, where the patient’s brother waited. He looked at me with big eyes and wanted to know if his sibling was ok. Not a conversation I would wish upon my worst enemy.

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2016-11-11T17:13:19-08:00

Child Whisperer Series: Breaking Bad News

BadNewsThe weekend after Thanksgiving, I received the following text from one of my friends: “Bella’s in the hospital. Her legs were hurting, they did tests… It’s leukemia.” Bella is one of my 8 year old daughter’s good friends. All of a sudden my professional world and personal world were colliding. As I looked up from my phone and at my daughter, one of my first thoughts was, how am I going to explain this to my daughter so that she isn’t terrified and understands leukemia?

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2016-11-11T19:18:15-08:00

Child Whisperer Series: There’s an app for that!

I was playing bubbles with a 2 yr old when she wanted a turn. Even though I knew the outcome, she said “peeeze” so I said OK. As predicted, she immediately dumped the bubbles on the floor and started laughing. In the corner of the room I heard the quiet voice of her 10 year old brother say to me, “Excuse me, ma’am… you know there’s an app for that”.

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2019-02-19T18:13:00-08:00

Child Whisperer Series: Just Breathe

BubblesJust breathe….

Early in my career as a Child Life Specialist, I was working with a 4 year old girl who needed her port catheter accessed. She was beginning to panic with rapid breathing and moving around. She was clearly on the verge of screaming at any moment. Her panic made everyone in the room feel anxious. I knew I had to do something, so I got on one knee, looked her in the eye and said, “Just breathe.” Without missing a beat, she leaned in closer to me and said, “I am!”… Touché my little friend. 

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2017-03-05T14:18:37-08:00

Confessions of an Emergency Department Kid Helper

FrightenedChildAs I was rounding the corner from the adult area of the emergency department to the pediatric area I heard a child screaming at the top of his lungs, “I DON’T WANT A SHOT”. I knew at that moment I was being summoned. I walked into the room and I saw a mother with her 5 year old son in a full headlock, while a new intern was trying to look in his ears. I made eye contact with the intern said “maybe I can help” then turned my attention to mom and son.

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2016-11-20T07:15:20-08:00