As a pediatric nurse, you will be working with children every day. This can certainly be difficult, but very rewarding. Children are normally very energetic, and a trip to the doctor’s office can ramp them up even more. Keeping the kids calm and comforted is essential to be able to carry out your duties as a nurse.
Most people think that pediatrics involves seeing cute babies and smiling children all day. Oh, how wrong they are. Some of the biggest challenges that pediatric nurses face with their younger patients involve injections, gathering information, and even parents. Every child is different, so whether you are a new pediatric travel nurse, or have years of experience, you can benefit from these tips to help ease the execution of some tasks.
5 Pediatric Nurse Tips
This may seem simple, but a smile goes a long way in the eyes of a child. Especially when you first meet a child or enter the room, it is important to show them you are friendly and safe. Children pick up on nonverbal communication, so a smile is a great way to create an initial connection.
Empathize with the child
Were you scared to go to the doctor as a child? Maybe not, but the doctor’s office seems to be a common fear in children. Try to understand why a child might be feeling scared or acting out. Having a sense of comprehension will allow you to better respond to different reactions. Nursing and psychology can go hand-in-hand and be beneficial for both the nurse and patient.
Sympathize with the parents
Some parents can be very anxious and over-protective when bringing their child in for an appointment. “This is MY child and MY child is sick.” Again, psychology comes into play here. They are most likely acting this way because they are concerned and want the best for their child. As a pediatric nurse, try to sympathize with them and stay calm while explaining everything in the best way you can.
3. Explain what’s happening
Talk to the child and tell them how you are going to help in words that they will understand. While using age appropriate words, try not to talk down to them. If they are too young to understand words, you can use a puppet or children’s picture book that describes what’s going on. Also, don’t lie. Don’t tell your patient that the shot won’t hurt at all because they’ll lose any sense of trust you may have built. You can tell them that it might hurt a bit, but remain upbeat when communicating and remember to smile when appropriate.
4. Make the space kid-friendly
Bright colors, comforting stuffed animals, toys, and children’s books never fail to brighten a kid’s day. These elements will make the child think of it as a fun place, not a scary doctor’s office with white walls, white floors, and a cold feeling. In addition to these, try wearing some animal or cartoon scrubs. They could be a point of conversation where you can build a relationship with the child and learn more about his/her interests.
5. Ask parents to help
Parents give the child a sense of comfort, so knowing that they’re right there can be beneficial. Allow the parent to hold the child during procedures if they can’t sit still or if they are unhappy. Also, encourage parents to bring a comforting toy or stuffed animal with them. This way, the child has a familiar object that is associated with happiness and will make your job as a pediatric nurse just a little bit easier.