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Teamwork is Why Beth English Enjoys Working at Shriners Children's Lexington

Beth English loves the idea of teamwork, which is why she has loved working at Shriners Children’s Lexington for more than two decades.

Beth is a certified recreational therapist who just marked her 25th anniversary at the Lexington location. She has also been the medical center’s clinical photographer for the last 10 years. “The Shriners Children’s Lexington team is about teamwork,” Beth said. “We’re always willing to help each other out.”

Beth is a prime example of how working together makes the mission possible. In addition to her busy schedule as one of only two recreational therapists on staff in Lexington, she has helped fill in for other staff members who have been out, serving in roles, including surgery scheduling, health information management and registration. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Beth played a critical role as a COVID screener.

While she is always willing to fill the gaps where needed, Beth’s passion lies in helping keep patients comfortable, calm and confident while they’re at Shriners Children’s Lexington.

No two days look the same for Beth. You might find her in the ambulatory surgery center helping a child with a paint by numbers project to ease their fears before surgery. She might be in the outpatient clinic finding toys and games to distract a scoliosis patient from the discomfort of having their MAGEC rods lengthened, or in the casting room playing games on an iPad with a little boy getting his first wrap to heal a broken elbow. If you find Beth at her desk, she is probably planning one of her popular patient summer camps, sports clinics or proms. The possibilities are endless, and Beth loves that.

“I get to come to work and play,” Beth said. “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Our clinic and ambulatory surgery center can sometimes be stressful places and out of the patients’ comfort zone. I am here for our children, to help them through this difficult time, whether by providing procedural education, teaching controlled breathing, glittering a cast or holding a hand.”

Ultimately, Beth loves her job because she gets to be part of a mission she truly believes in.

“Our mission is and always has been to serve and better the lives of our children,” she said. “Over the past 100 years, that has never changed. Shriners Children's number one priority is to serve our children and families by providing them with the highest quality of care.” What has changed, though, is how that care is provided, especially during the years that Beth has been at Shriners Children’s Lexington.

“Technology has changed my job over the decades,” she said. “In the past, examples of distraction play involved using imagination, blowing bubbles and playing with a toy. Now children of all ages look for distraction with digital games and videos.”

In a more digitally advanced world, Beth’s role as a recreational therapist remains critical though.

“I have had to change with the times the way I educate, distract and support our kids during their visits,” she said. “My distraction and educational implementations have evolved so that children will relate and engage. All the while, I continue to provide leisure education of all varieties of active and passive play.”

Beth with a patient

Beth English has been a recreational therapist at Shriners Children's Lexington for 25 years, and says her favorite part of the job is collaborating with her coworkers to provide innovative care for her patients.

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