DiversityNursing Blog

Simple Steps Make Shots Less Scary for Kids, Nurse Says

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 25, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

By Robert Preidt

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Many children get anxious or afraid when they have to get a vaccination, but there are a number of ways that parents can make these shots easier for their kids, an expert suggests.

The first step is to explain to children in an age-appropriate way that the vaccinations help protect their health, said Rita John, director of the pediatric primary care nurse practitioner program at Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City.

"Children need to know that vaccines aren't a punishment or something negative, vaccines are something that keeps them from getting sick," John said in a Columbia news release. "When parents are anxious, they pass that fear on to their kids. The best way to talk about vaccines is to keep the conversation positive and focused on the benefits of vaccination."

Before a vaccination, you can reduce toddlers' and preschoolers' anxiety if you give them a toy medical kit so that they can give pretend shots to you or a favorite doll or other toy.

When you arrive for the shot, ask the clinician to use a numbing cream or spray to limit the pain caused by the needle. Blowing on a bubble maker or a pinwheel can help distract younger children during vaccinations, while listening to music, playing games or texting may benefit older children and teens.

"If the kids think something is going to reduce their pain, there can be a placebo effect where the technique works because they expect it to work," John explained.

"It doesn't matter so much what you use to make your child more comfortable so long as you do something that acknowledges that they may experience some pain and that they can do something to make it hurt less," she added.

Be sure to reward and/or praise children after a vaccination. For example, give stickers to younger children. "You want the final part of the experience to make kids feel like even if they suffered some momentary pain, it was worth it," John said.

"Good play preparation, a positive attitude about immunization, and bringing something to distract kids during the shots can all help make the experience better," she concluded.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov

Topics: needles, anxiety, health, nurses, children, vaccination

A Nurse Who Lends an Ear May Ease Anxiety in Moms of Preemies

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

One-on-one talks with nurses help mothers of premature infants cope with feelings of anxiety, confusion and doubt, a new study reveals.

"Having a prematurely born baby is like a nightmare for the mother," Lisa Segre, an assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Nursing, said in a university news release. "You're expecting to have a healthy baby, and suddenly you're left wondering whether he or she is going to live."

Segre and a colleague investigated whether women with premature babies would benefit from having a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse sit with them and listen to their concerns and fears.

The study included 23 mothers with premature infants who received an average of five 45-minute one-on-one sessions with a NICU nurse and study co-author Rebecca Siewert.

"The mothers wanted to tell their birth stories," Siewert said in the news release. "They wanted someone to understand what it felt like for their babies to be whisked away from them. They were very emotional."

The sessions reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in the women, and boosted their self-esteem, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Perinatology.

The findings show that "listening matters" when it comes to helping mothers of premature infants, Segre said.

"These mothers are stressed out, and they need someone to listen to them," she explained.

She and Siewert believe nurses are well-suited for the role.

"Listening is what nurses have done their whole career," Siewert said. "We've always been the ones to listen and try to problem solve. So, I just think it was a wonderful offshoot of what nursing can do. We just need the time to do it."

Source: US News Health

Topics: anxiety, mother, Preemie, one-on-one, listening, depression, reduce, NICU

Peer Support Lowers Distress in Transgender People, Nursing-Led Study Finds

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 @ 03:21 PM

A national study of transgender people finds peer support, family support and pride in transgender identity, are among the protective factors for the clinical depression and anxiety often experienced by this population.

The national online study shows transgender individuals experience particularly high rates of psychological distress associated with the social stigma attached to their gender nonconformity.

The study is published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

"While peer support has generally been encouraged in clinical work, what has not been demonstrated until now is that it can actually make an important difference by buffering the impact of discrimination on mental health related to being transgender," said Walter O. Bockting, PhD, lead author of the study, and a Professor at Columbia University School of Nursing and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  

Bockting is also co-director of the newly established LGBT Health Initiative in the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health at New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry.

The study demonstrates individuals' mental health distress was associated with stigma.

Among the 1093 transgender individuals whose data was analyzed:

  • 44.1% rated high on depression;
  • 33.2% rated high on anxiety; and
  • 27.5% on somatization, i.e., physical symptoms with a psychological cause.

The researchers found that, as they had hypothesized, "family support, peer support, and identity pride all were negatively associated with psychological distress, confirming these assets are protective factors."

"This provides the first empirical basis for clinicians to encourage peer support, and for social service and health organizations to provide avenues for peer support, such as offline or online support groups and group therapy," Bockting says. 

"In addition, interventions, advocacy and public policy initiatives are needed to confront social structures, norms and attitudes that produce stress associated with stigma, prejudice and discrimination so that the high rates of psychological distress found among transgender populations can be reduced." 

For more information, visit: www.nursing.columbia.edu.

Source: Advance for Nursing

Topics: transgender, nurse-led study, clinical depression, anxiety, peer support, lower distress

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