Put On A (Sterile) Happy Face

9 May

In case you missed a day, here are the other Good Ideas from Good-Idea-A-Day Week!

Good Idea A Day: Promo

Good Idea A Day: Idea #1 The Progressive Pillow

Today’s Good Idea: Put On A (Sterile) Happy Face

I have previously referenced my job as a nurse at a children’s hospital, and after a few months of working I have learned a lot. One thing I have learned is that there are a lot of children in a children’s hospital. This may seem obvious, but sometimes I feel like people forget this fact.

A great example of this can be seen with the protective equipment that we have to wear when a child is in some sort of isolation (for example if they have a respiratory illness, or a weakened immune system.)

This is very common in our hospital, and anyone who goes into the child’s room must don a bright yellow gown, blue gloves, and a face mask. We can tell a child why we have to wear these special clothes, but in reality I did not start listening to adults until I was an adult, especially if I was afraid of their clothes.

She is not smiling underneath her mask, but even if she was you would not be able to tell...

I can only imagine how we appear to kids who do not understand why we are wearing these scary outfits. In my mind this is probably how we appear to them:

Maybe a slight exaggeration, but honestly I still am afraid to go to the Dentist at 27 years old...

I had the following experience, which led to a Good Idea for how to make kids more comfortable at the hospital.

A patient was taking pictures with everyone who cared for him while he was in the hospital. However, he was in isolation and so everyone had to wear masks in the pictures.

As a few other nurses and I smiled under our masks, I realized that our smiles would obviously go undetected. At the last-minute, I decided to flip my mask over and draw a smile onto the mask. I successfully became the only person besides the patient to smile in any of the pictures.

This made me realize that it would be so easy to produce child-friendly masks and gowns. Why not have the isolation gowns be an Astronaut space suit, or a zookeeper outfit with animals in the pockets? The options are limitless, and the small price increase for printing them would be worth the developmental benefits for these kids.

This Good Idea goes beyond posing for a picture and is more about making the hospital experience better for everyone, especially the children. To be honest, I would request all the kids in isolation because I love to play dress up.

Here are a couple of examples of facemasks I made to show how simple but poignant the effect can be: (Keep in mind that I do not have a printing machine and I have the artistic aptitude of a second-grader.)

First, here's how a normal mask looks on me...

The Standard Smile

The Bucktooth

The Missing Tooth Hillbilly

The Confused Monkey-Face

 I think the smell of permanent marker might have been getting to me, but the more I made of these facemasks, the better I though the Good Idea was. I would challenge any company responsible for making protective personal equipment to produce masks like these. I would then challenge these companies to send me royalties…

(If you enjoyed this or any of the previous posts, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or “like” Good Idea John G, LLC on Facebook to be entered into the prize drawing!)

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4 Responses to “Put On A (Sterile) Happy Face”

  1. RR May 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Patent it before it gets away!

  2. Anonymous May 10, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    .love it

  3. John G May 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Dear Anonymous,

    Maybe when some company comes out with these masks, you and I can file a class action lawsuit with anyone else who had this idea before them (Then I’ll convince the other plaintiffs to donate their winnings back to a children’s hospital, and you and I can keep our share without telling them.) Or maybe we should start our own business to make these masks, and it could be called John G and Anonymous, LLC. Just let me know…

    Thanks for reading!
    Love, John G

  4. Anonymous May 9, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    This idea is long overdue. I actually made a mask like this, but some company needs to make these for children’s hospitals!

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