Get to know your transplant team

Little known facts about two Pediatric Transplant Center Child Life Specialists

When a child has to spend extended time in a hospital, child life specialists help make that stay as easy as possible by supporting the patient’s emotional, social and cognitive growth. Through developmental interventions and fun games and activities, our child life specialists help patients and their families adapt to life at Boston Children’s during hospitalization.

Kirsten Getchell and Lynne Long are the child life specialists who work everyday with transplant and non-transplant patients, families and their Pediatric Transplant Center colleagues, supporting and reinforcing our family-centered approach to care.


How did you get your start in health care and what is your role within the Pediatric Transplant Center?

Lynne: I’ve always known that I wanted to work with children, but I also never felt a calling to be a teacher or a doctor, so child life seemed like the perfect match for me. I began work at Boston Children’s Hospital in inpatient cardiology. In that department I worked closely with children who were pre and post heart transplant, and that eventually led to a role on the Pediatric Transplant Center team.

Kristen: My mom is a nurse practitioner and my dad is a dentist, so I grew up around hospitals and health care. I knew I wanted to work with children, so when I was younger I volunteered on the pediatric unit at the hospital where my mom worked. My supervisor at the time was a child life specialist, and the rest is history.


What do you like most about your job?

Lynne: Playing! I love that I can play with children of many different ages in many different ways. The smiles and the giggles are definitely the best, especially when I have just helped make their time at the hospital a little easier!

Kristen: I love working with infants, children and teens. Here at the Pediatric Transplant Center we have patients of all levels and cultures, and they always remind me to be thankful for the small things in life. A lot of adults seem to forget that we can learn so much from children—we just have to take the time to listen to them!


What hobbies or interests do you enjoy outside of work?

Lynne: I love to bake, go on walks with my dog, watch movies and spend time with family and friends.

Kristen: I love to spend time with family and friends…I’m also an outdoors-y person and really enjoy things like hiking, skiing or playing sports. I also really love to travel.


What aspect about your job are you the most proud of?

Lynne: I have deep appreciation and knowledge of children, especially young babies. It’s my passion in life to make things a little happier for children during hospitalization, and judging from the fun I have with our patients every day, I’m very proud to able to say I’ve turned my passion into a successful career.


Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?

Lynne: I’m an actress. Along with child life and child development, theater was also a part of my education in college. I enjoy acting, singing, and dancing in plays, musicals and shows.


What has been your most favorite vacation (or what would be your dream vacation)?

Kirsten: I loved visiting Cappadocia, Turkey. I love learning about and experiencing the history, the architecture, the culture, and the people!


Is there any volunteer work or charities that are important to you?

Kirsten: Since college I’ve volunteered at Camp Miracles and Magic, a week- long overnight camp for children with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS. Now that I have a family of my own, I bring them to the camp with me to volunteer for the week. It’s a lot of fun and teaches them about the importance of helping when you can.