When I walked into the Emergency Room at the beginning of my shift, a nurse immediately said to me “Oh good, you’re here!” There was a 5 year old girl who needed an IV placed and was pretty nervous about it. When I opened the patient’s door she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said ‘Are you going to do it?’ I told her I would not touch her and my job was to teach with my voice.
With hesitation she allowed me to enter her room and kneel next to her so we could talk about her IV. I was able to show her all of the medical supplies we use and how each step of the procedure would feel like for her. The longer we talked, the more comfortable and confident she became about the entire process. Once she verbalized her understanding of the IV we began discussing her coping plan. Her mom’s role became very important because the patient decided mom’s job was to stand next to her and hold her hand the whole time. We were also going to look at a My Little Pony Ispy book so that she didn’t have to watch the IV going in. With the patient’s permission I left to tell the nurse she was ready and that we had a plan.
The patient was calm and cooperative during the entire procedure because she knew exactly what she was going to feel and what the next step was. When the IV was in and I told her she was all finished, the patient looked up at me and with a surprised expression and told me that it was easy. Her mom was even more thankful and surprised than the patient. She could not believe her daughter was able to do it without needing to be held down or screaming and crying. I told her again that my job is to make being at the hospital and everything that happens here as easy as possible.
In this situation, our patient felt empowered and successfully was able to cope with a challenging situation. Her mother's anxiety and stress was significantly decreased and she was a key component in helping her daughter deal with something very difficult. Our nurses were able to focus on quickly and safely performing the procedure in order to provide the best medical care to the patient.
-- Certified Child Life Specialist