Hello, It's Nice to Meet You – Jenna Teso, Child Life Specialist

No-one wants to have to bring their child to the Emergency Department, but our doctors and staff are dedicated to making your child’s experience the best it can be. As a Child Life Specialist Jenna is a crucial member of the staff, supporting and empowering your child during their Emergency Department experience. Meet Jena. 

Jenna with one of the teaching dolls

How long have you been in Tucson, what brought you here?
I have lived in Tucson for ten years.  I came here to attend college at the University of Arizona.
What do you love about Tucson?
I love almost everything about Tucson!  I think it’s the perfect size…there is plenty to do but the size of the city isn’t overwhelming.  I love looking at the mountains and the sunsets.  It may sound weird, but I love the weather here…even in the summer!  I’m not a fan of cold weather, so Tucson works for me!
What do you do for fun?
I do lots of things for fun.  I have 2 Golden Retrievers, Taz and Lilly, and I love spending time with them.  I also like reading, trying new restaurants, and going to movies.  I love to travel whenever I get the chance.
What do you love about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is that every day is different…planning my work day isn’t even possible.   I work in the Pediatric Emergency Room, and you never know who is going to walk in next.  My favorite aspect of working with Pediatric patients as a Child Life Specialist is educating them about the healthcare experiences they are facing so that they can feel empowered and more “in control.”  I love kids who are curious and ask lots of questions about being in the hospital…helping them understand how things work around here is fun and rewarding.
What tips would you give to parents and  family members bringing their child to Emergency Room?
When bringing a child to the Emergency Room, there are some things parents can do to make the experience a better one for their child:

1.  If you can, bring a favorite toy or comfort item from home.  Being in the hospital can be scary, and having a familiar item around can make your child feel more comfortable.
2.  Don’t be afraid to let your child know what is happening.  Children are imaginative, and sometimes what they imagine is MUCH worse than the reality.  Knowledge is empowering, and Child Life Specialists are here to help them understand too!
3.  You know your child better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to advocate for them.  If you think that there is something that can be done to make your child’s experience easier to cope with, let the staff know!  They’ll certainly make it happen if they possibly can.

What do you want people to know about Child Life Specialists?
Child Life Specialists are knowledgeable about child development and what its like for a kid to have to come to the hospital.  Sometimes it just looks like we’re playing or carrying on a simple conversation.  But behind these interactions are years of training and education that help us determine the best way to help children understand and cope with their hospital experiences.  We DO have a lot of fun…but every interaction is done with a specific goal in mind!