ROLAND PETIOT’S INTERVIEW

Check out our video of the week featuring Roland Petiot from the Docteur Clown association. He talks about the emergence of the hospital clown profession.

WHAT IMPACT HAS THE EMERGENCE OF THE HOSPITAL CLOWN PROFESSION HAD?

Twenty-five years ago, when we started in the hospital, we were “tolerated”. We could only go in the afternoons. Clowns were there to entertain, to amuse the children, but it was barely tolerated. We had to fight to get into the hospitals. Now we’re integrated into the teams.

Hospital clown we think: “it’s about the child”. The target is the child. No. It’s true that the main audience may be the child, but we must always remember that there are also parents, grandparents, siblings and staff.

When the staff works with playfulness, with joy, the personal connection is there. We help everyone and build relationships and bring the child and staff closer together. We’re in the caring business. We take care of people in the hospital, which is at the core about personal connections. Now, if you come to a hospital like the HFME in Lyon, every day there’s something going on. There are musicians and so on. There are pink coat volunteers, activities, educators and everything. There are many things you can do in the hospital.

This is no longer the place to be quiet. We’re really noisy. We make noise in the corridors. We have water fights. There are so many things going on. We’ve pushed back against the whole straitlaced hospital atmosphere. We really feel like we’re… not important, it’s not that, we’re not essential or important… but we feel we’re making a difference and bringing well-being. And plus, we enjoy it. If we didn’t enjoy playing, doing magic tricks, making music and so on, we would have stopped.

For us, it’s really exhausting to spend a day in the hospital, but it’s so enriching on a personal level. I think it’s hard to stop going.

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