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Mercyhealth Child Life Specialist Writes Children’s Book

Tells story of Riley, who finds ways to think positively while at the hospital

ROCKFORD, Illinois–Staying overnight in the hospital is not ideal for anyone, especially children. Jess Ehret, certified child life specialist at Mercyhealth, wanted to help give her little patients a sense of normalcy during these stressful moments in a light-hearted way. Last year, she wrote, “The Hospital Bedtime Story,” that tells the adorable story of Riley, who must stay overnight to get better. Riley uses positive thinking and imagination to make the experience better, less scary and sleep tight.

Published in April 2020, Jess has already sold over 150 copies. “Anytime I see my patients move from fear and anxiety, to calmness and even laughter is my greatest reward,” said Jess. “The book feedback has been positive. The best part is when people send me stories about patients that they’ve read the story to. Or even send pictures of their child with the book during hospitalization, with comments about how they could relate to the main character and how it helped them.”

When asked what this book means to Jess, she says it’s definitely a reflection of her work at Mercyhealth. “I’m very passionate about child development and well-being. I don’t believe that any other children’s books exist in regards to having to stay in the hospital, or about the role of a child life specialist, so it’s a first, but it’s meant to be a tool for other specialists and pediatric providers to offer to their patients and families at a vulnerable time as means for coping, normalcy, and comfort.”

The book is available to order in paperback on Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble and for download on Nook and Kindle.

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