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Tips from the Pros: How Pediatric Nurses Can Work with Kids

Children are squirming, energetic, and rambunctious on any typical day. Toss in a day where they have to visit the doctor and chaos may ensue. Pediatric nurses play a role in calming down the little ones while they are poked and prodded. Here are few tips from the pros about how pediatric nurses can interact with kids in a fun and inviting way.

Image via Flickr by Walt Stoneburner

Encourage Parents to Bring Comforting Items
It’s good for children to have a comfort item any time they visit the hospital. Experts suggest parents bring an item that normally calms the youngster down, noting that it may help with shots and uncomfortable exams. The smell, feel, and sight of the comfort object will be familiar to the child and reduce fear and tension. It’s best to let the child decide which item they would like to bring along for the ride.

Keep a Kid-Friendly Space
Don’t underestimate the power of bright colors, stuffed animals, and children’s books. Kid-friendly decor makes the doctor’s office a fun place instead of a scary room with a strange doctor. If your young patient doesn’t bring his own comfort item, let him or her choose one from the office stock.

Explain to the Patient What’s Going to Happen
In age-appropriate terms, tell the child how the medicine is going to help them. If the child is young enough, use a puppet to explain or a children’s book that describes what happens during doctor’s visits. Calm them and let them know that the moment will be over soon and they will feel a lot better.

Use a Medical Distraction Toy
Technology has made its way to pediatric rooms across the nation. One of the latest devices, MediRobot, has a great track record with kids so far. Researchers are testing the MediRobot as a distraction to young children during doctor exams. So far, the robot has performed well in studies for reducing pain and distress during flu vaccinations. Unfortunately, the MediRobot isn’t yet widely available.

However, there are other great devices on the market, like the Buzzy, which could be a cheaper alternative. This buzzing bee has a vibrating motor and ice pack that distracts children in a fun and friendly way. The Buzzy reportedly confuses nerves in the body, therefore lessening areas of pain.

Let Parents Hold the Child During the Rough Spots
Knowing that mom or dad is nearby will help the child calm their nerves. Instruct the parents to securely hold and soothe the young patient in a way that is not threatening or restraining, but comforting. The parents can talk to the patient before the exam, hug them or hold their hands during the appointment. Just being there to soothe the child after the exams are done reassures the child that everything is going to be okay.

Earning a child’s trust as a pediatric nurse may be tough, but it’s far from impossible. Keeping the children and parents comfortable is the best way to ensure quality care. Keep these helpful tips in mind and your appointments will go smoothly every time.

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