Kids in the hospital have so many needs beyond just treating their physical issues Nobody sees all the little moments of stress and difficulty a young patient experiences more than the nurses caring for them every day; moments that it is difficult for a large institution as a whole to perceive. While the heart of nursing is the personal touch, there are also moments where some sort of object or equipment is also needed to “take a child’s mind off of being sick.”

It might mean a giving a child a sticker when drawing blood, or providing a change of clothes and toiletries to a teenager arriving at the behavioral health unit with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Or transporting a child to the operating room in a cute “taxi” instead of a gurney, and having special swings that allow children to stay comfortably with nurses at their stations rather than be left alone in their room.

These are the kind of things that the United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) Children’s Hospital Fund provides for patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The fund was formed by the union in 1994 as a non-profit organization. It is entirely run by Hasbro Children’s Hospital nurses, who identify the needs, raise the funds, organize the events and purchase the supplies for their patients. The fund has raised well over $100,000 over the past 22 years, which has allowed the nurses to:

  • purchase and convert little red wagons and taxis to be used as a “fun” alternative to wheelchairs;
  • host parties, dinners, concerts, and other entertainment for patients and families;
  • underwrite the publishing of 5,000 activities books based on the highly-regarded Hasbro Children’s Hospital Circle of Clay; and
  • purchase physical therapy equipment, books, stickers, toys, televisions, videos, audiocassette players, personal hygiene items, dolls, and many other items for use by young patients while they are in the hospital.

The fund’s most recent fundraiser was their Seaside Party, held on August 17th at Finn’s Harborside Restaurant in East Greenwich. About 200 union members, labor supporters, friends and UNAP staff enjoyed eating, drinking and dancing to the sounds of Whiskey Rhode, whose lineup includes Rhode Island Hospital employee Marc D’Aguanno. Seventy raffle prizes were won, including many prize baskets assembled by units at the hospital. The net proceeds from the event were $12,700, which will go directly to easing the stay of pediatric patients.

Beyond UNAP’s leadership role in the fund, other unions providing sponsorship for the event included Massachusetts Nurses Association, RI Laborers’ District Council of LIUNA, Teamsters Local 251, Rhode Island AFL-CIO, RI Public Employees’ Benefit Funds, NEARI Children's Fund, Iron Workers Local 37, RI Brotherhood of Correctional Officers, and the Rhode Island Building & Trades Council.