Hospital visits can be uncomfortable, regardless of the age of patients. However, when it comes to paeds, the experience can be more traumatic. Apart of the reason behind the visit, which can be extremely stressful, they are exposed to an environment full of scary sounds and sights. Moreover, some children, may also have a baggage of unpleasant memories of their prior hospital visits. Alongside, television and movies do not also portray clinics and hospitals as bright cheerful spaces.
As a nurse, you must have experienced that when a child becomes anxious, it gets more difficult to administer treatment. The situation itself is not only emotionally stressful for the parents and child, but is also exhausting for the staff, nurse or doctor administering the treatment.
If you are working in the pediatric ward and struggling with cheering your patients, below are some tips for you that may help:
Anxiety is scary and contagious. It is very easy for nurses to get frazzled when the shift hours are busy. Moreover, when you are stressed or tensed, it tends to get visible in your body language and voice. As a healthcare provider, you must be aware that anxiety only tends to increase nervousness amongst young patients and their guardians. Regardless of the situation, they will expect you to be calm and in control of the situation.
Moreover, calmness is also quite infectious. If you are comfortably breathing and speaking confidently, you can make your patients feel more relaxed and at ease.
Most of the time, patients tend to get anxious since they do not know what to expect in terms of treatment. For instance, children are scared of injectable. So the first thing you need to tell them is whether you will be giving them a shot or is it going to hurt? Will the child have to stay at the hospital overnight, or he/she will have to separate from his/her parents. Therefore, instead of just talking to the parent, talk to the child as well. Make sure the conversation is age appropriate and according to the understanding of children.
Music tends to calm the mind serving as an anti-anxiety agent. For instance, research claims that certain type of music elicits a positive response on the emotional and physical wellbeing. Moreover, if you are working in the paeds ward, then nursery rhymes can simply do the trick. By playing soft music or kid friendly nursery rhymes, you can help calm a distracted or anxious child.
Printed scrubs are a great way to entice children and calm their anxiety. Today, scrubs come in variety of alluring designs featuring Frozen, Smurfs, cute prints, and seasonal scrubs for Christmas, Halloween etc. All these are great to cheer up the little children and make them at ease all day long.
Nurses who are permanently deployed in the pediatric ward are well aware that a little distraction on work can go a long way. You can make it easier for patients by asking them about their hobbies, interests, etc. engage with them by asking about their friends, schools, Favorite TV shows and narrate stories to make it easier to pass their time. The more lightly the subject, the less fearful they'd feel.
If you want to make a child happy, nothing can work better than a treat. Some hospitals offer different sweets and candies to children, but that's not your only option. Instead of offering candies that are laden in sugar, which makes children restless and hyper, you could possibly give them a book or a small toy from your treasure chest.
The best way to change the perception of a child regarding hospitals is by piquing their interest. You can explain the use of different machines and instruments. Let the, listen to their heartbeat via your stethoscope. Other than being happy with the knowledge they gain, they will also be more comfortable with their surroundings.
One of the reasons children are scared of hospitals is that they are afraid that they will feel pain. They are likely to be scared even if the visit to the hospital will not cause any pain as they will always associate hospitals with injections and needles. You can apply any anesthetic to make it comfortable for them and also calm their nerves.
There is no particular way that you can calm the anxiety of patients. The age of patients, old hospital experience, reason for visit, or their personality trait plays an important role in reducing their anxiety. However, by following the strategies mentioned above, you can improve the overall hospital experience of children making it comfortable for them