Shane Rafferty performs video clip game titles for a dwelling. He’s neither a developer nor a rated expert, but his do the job revolves all over gaming all the similar: Rafferty is a gaming engineering specialist. As the name suggests, he makes use of technology—and video clip video games in particular—to present social and psychological support for hospitalized youngsters and their families.

While the task description sounds like fantasy, gaming technology professionals are a fact at much more than 50 hospitals all over the world. Among the them is the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Healthcare facility of Chicago. Given that August 2021, Rafferty has performed dozens of video games there, ranging from Mario Kart to Tetris to Tremendous Smash Bros., with hundreds of youngsters.

Rafferty comes from a overall health care track record, so he’s no stranger to educating clients, distracting them, and helping them cope with diagnoses, but gaming permits him to link with clients above frequent pursuits, much too.

“It’s a great way to establish rapport with them and split down boundaries,” Rafferty suggests.

Outside of creating relationships, he’s also identified that actively playing along with (or towards!) the young children aids them forget they are in the hospital. It gives them a likelihood to interact in perform, exact same as their friends.

“They’re sitting down, they are participating in Mario Kart,” Rafferty claims, “and they are not contemplating about how they’ve been caught in the very same area for the past thirty day period. Instead they are thinking, ‘I want to get this red shell so I can conquer this person who thinks he’s hot things.’”

Becoming in a position to supply that reprieve by means of gaming, which each Rafferty and the young children take pleasure in, is specially gratifying.

Just One more Day in the Lifetime

The title “gaming know-how specialist” can be a little bit of a misnomer, as Rafferty’s day can involve anything from bedside gaming periods to console troubleshooting to consultations with other departments and even donors.

As Rafferty places it: “I wear a good deal of hats.”

Rafferty has three principal responsibilities at Lurie. The to start with is to keep the hospital’s amusement know-how. This features the consoles in the playroom area on the hospital’s 20 mobile video game carts, and any tech loaned out to patients’ particular person rooms. He troubleshoots controllers, installs updates, and confirms the appropriateness of the applications downloaded on to the hospital’s iPads. He also orders new products as wanted.

These are responsibilities that improve patients’ high quality of life. They are also responsibilities that might get shifted to the back again burner without having a devoted professional.

“Our boy or girl existence team is targeted on interacting with patients’ family members, performing treatment supports, and offering instruction,” Rafferty states. If a recreation isn’t functioning, “they never have time to say, ‘Alright, is Minion Hurry up to date?’”

Dealing with the burden of tech routine maintenance is just just one of the benefits of a gaming engineering expert. There is also Rafferty’s 2nd process to look at, 1 that informs the 1st: His position requires him to continue to be up-to-day on the latest developments in tech and gaming.

In this analysis Rafferty is under no circumstances by yourself. His situation is at present funded by a two-calendar year grant from Child’s Participate in, a match business charity. By way of this partnership Rafferty receives not only donated products (this sort of as the hospital’s 3D printer) but also entry to the more substantial gaming engineering professional local community, with whom he meets weekly to swap strategies.