Protector of Play of the Year: Chris Harrison

We’re proud to announce this year’s Starlight Protector of Play is Chris Harrison, a Paediatric Lead Nurse at The Arthur Levin Day Surgery Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital!

The Protector of Play award is a special non-Health Play Specialist award that spotlights the hospital staff that work alongside Play Specialists to provide play and distraction to children.

Chris has worked as a registered nurse for a number of years, and he’s always gone out of his way to include play for the children who visit his surgery unit. The hospital can be a frightening and daunting place for everyone, but especially children and young people. Chris is a big proponent of always getting down on their level and finding a common interest to help them feel more comfortable. He’ll often speak to the parents to figure out their interests and likes or comment on the child’s t-shirt or shoes to help them feel less lonely and afraid.

We have so many children that arrive crying and in tears, but if you get down on their level and give them ownership like playing a game, colouring, setting them a fun task, it helps cheer them up and relaxes them.


That’s why Chris always ensures play is at the centre of his interactions with the children and young people who visit his unit.

His unit caters to a range of ages, anywhere from 1-year-olds to 17-year-olds, so he always has various toys or activities for them to play with. That’s where the Starlight Distraction and Boost boxes come in handy. They’re filled with toys, books, games, and entertainment that help Chris distract and play with the children visiting his unit before, during and after their treatments.

Chris champions play at every opportunity. He's so inclusive of every child, young person and parent who comes through our services. He always actively engages everyone in play, and ensures play is the forefront of their experience.

Stephanie, Colleague

We’re so proud Chris is this year’s Protector of Play. As a nurse, he’s not required to ensure play is provided for his patients, and yet he goes above and beyond to provide play to every child and young person who comes through his unit. The very definition of a Starlight Protector of Play.

Visit our 2022 Play in Hospital Week hub to learn more about this year’s winners and see how else we’re celebrating.