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Minimizing Sticks

Left to right: Melody Corbin, clinical tech, and nurses Kristina Hoerl, Joan Ulatowski and Ron Wardrope practice IV insertion.

When it comes to starting an IV in a tiny newborn or a chubby toddler, it takes a special kind of skill. “If you’re not used to doing kids, they’re a moving target,” says clinical technician Melody Corbin. “You have the parents right there. Some people get intimidated by it.”

Getting IV access to the many children referred for studies to Radiology had become an untenable problem for the department’s nursing staff. “We were rescheduling at least two cases a week,” says Ron Langlotz, nurse manager for radiology nursing. “When we got down to the heart of the problem, it was about training, about everybody doing it the same way.”

Thus the pediatric IV response team was born. Made up of four nurses with pediatric experience—Corbin, Kristina Hoerl, Joan Ulatowski and Ron Wardrope—the group became the department’s resource for difficult cases, and, gradually, began teaching their co-workers how to practice the best IV techniques. During the three-month pilot, which ended in March, just a single case was cancelled. “We’ve decreased patient pain and mother anxiety and gotten the tests through,” says Langlotz. “In radiology, we’re not only about volume; we’re about patient care and patient satisfaction.”
Nurse Nikki Seggerty, a new hire who received the training and now sees a half dozen children each week, loves working with her pediatric patients.   

“I get them involved and excited about their procedure instead of them being all scared and nervous,” she says. “Yesterday I got a 2-week-old on the first try, then a 2-year-old, then a 7-year-old. I didn’t have to call anybody for help.”




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