pediatrics and the ER

Her little blue eyes darted from her mother to me repeatedly as tears built up and dropped onto her cheeks. I smiled at her and set my equipment down on the counter.  Her little chin quivered with fear as she struggled to compose herself.  Her mother quickly rushed to her side on the stretcher and held her tiny body close as she explained, “I’m sorry honey but we have to do this.”

I sat on the stool near the counter, a few feet away from the stretcher, waiting for this little girl’s mother to finish consoling her child.  I was well aware of the fact that this little one knew all too well how painful things were about to get and she was trying so hard to be brave.  (2 months prior to this date this child came in and had to have a large MRSA boil lanced and the IV didn’t go so well so she was drawing on the only experience she had and FEAR was very palpable…)

“Do you have to do the IV?” she pleaded with her eyes for me to say NO.

“I’m sorry honey, but Yes, I do have to put in an IV…BUT I’ve been doing this for 23 years and I promise you I will do it quickly!!”

“The other nurse last time didn’t get the IV and someone else had to do it…it hurt as bad as when my brother hit me in the head with his body on the swing set and knocked me over.”

I tried not to laugh but she was being so cute!!  I smiled and said, “I can only imagine how bad that must have hurt~ But I put that numbing gel on you so this needle won’t hurt so much.”

“Okay I guess I’m ready…but I might still have to cry.”

Sympathy gripped my heart as I gathered my things and moved to the stretcher…I sat down to her level and let mom adjust herself to a holding position.  Little sniffles echoed through the small room.

I explained each step and then I explained that, “If we sing Rudolf the red nosed Reindeer this won’t hurt much at all.”  On the count of three we began singing~~~ loudly.  :)

By the time we got to “very shiny nose” the INT was in place and I was drawing blood…we kept singing and by the time we reached “All of the other Reindeer…” I was done.  Her tiny little eyes grew large as she excitedly exclaimed, “I didn’t even know you did it~~~ the singing worked Mom!”

An hour later we were finished with the minimal conscious sedation procedure of lancing 3 large MRSA boils and my little Pedi patient was waking up nicely.  Her mother hugged me tightly and thanked me repeatedly for my nursing care.  “You were an expert with comforting my daughter and I’m so thankful for your IV skills!  Thank you so much.”

As I reflected on that experience I realized that often times I get thanked for things of comfort provided but today I was thanked for both my comforting of her daughter, the distraction techniques used AND for my nursing skills… As nurses we have so many responsibilities and requirements of knowledge~ but it truly is our total package of experience, knowledge and caring that give the patients and their families what they need.  It was a good day.

Bobbi McCarthy

About Bobbi McCarthy

Nurse for 23 years right here in Maine, currently in the new Augusta regional hospital as a charge nurse in the ER. Nurse educator for the last 2 years at UMA as adjunct clinical instructor. Wife, mother and grandmother.