Lukáš Houdek aka Red Noses clown Dr. Ivan Motyka

RED NOSES Humour intervention in
surgery preparation

Na Operační Sál (N.O.S. <=> “Nose”-“To the operation theatre”)


In 2013, RED NOSES in the Czech Republic started another very successful pilot programme — N.O.S. —at the children’s surgery department in University Hospital - Motol, Prague, and shortly afterwards at the Ostrava-Poruba hospital.


In this intervention, the clowns are the trigger for humour to take place in this environment which is normally not conducive to play in.

One specially trained clown doctor spends time with a child and the parents during preparations for operations, assuaging their fears and insecurities during these difficult moments through sensitive, humorous intervention.  Under these specific conditions, a single clown can better exercise his or her artistic empathy.

The actual time the clown spends at the ward varies according to the number of children for surgery – the visit lasts between 4 to 6 hours. The clown usually leaves after accompanying the last child to the surgical theatre. When children come back from surgery, most of them are still asleep and the nurses insist that they sleep as long as possible, advising parents not to interrupt their sleep. When they do wake up, quite often they have an adverse reaction to the anaesthetics (crying, fits of anger). During these episodes not even a mother's attention helps (we are told the children do not even remember these moments afterwards).

Lukáš Houdek aka clown Dr. Ivan Motyka
accompanies sick children to operations.


The clown's role is usually to make it obvious to the parent that he or she is available to help with the child, but leave it up to them when they see it fit.  The child falls asleep and wakes up with the same clown and play taking place. A seamless overlap has occurred without the child ever noticing any interruption.

After an evaluation period of three months a meeting was held in both these hospitals with the relevant hospital staff and in both hospitals the reception of the project was very positive.

This project requires close ties, co-operation and trust among the participating clowns and all staff members. In fact, the effect of the clown's presence at the ward seems to have achieved the opposite – a subjective feeling of more “room,” more calm, more relaxation, and more fun. We also got several spontaneous and hugely positive feedback letters from parents.





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