Don’t Bee Scared, Buzzy Is Here!
One important role of a Child Life Specialist is to help children feel less pain during a medical procedure by providing developmentally-appropriate preparation and procedural support, in order to help lessen their anxieties. Child Life Specialists provide preparation for medical procedures by telling children all the steps of what will occur so there will be no surprises, and letting children use toys such as stuffed animals and dolls, to play out the procedure in order to ease their anxieties and to help them gain a clear understanding in a simple way.
Child Life Specialists provide procedural support by being present during the medical procedure in order to talk the children through what is happening if they would like to know, distracting children during medical procedures by playing with them, and providing comfort during the medical procedure in order to help children cope as easily as possible.
Two common procedures that are often scary for children are getting shots and getting an IV inserted. When Child Life Specialists provide procedural support for getting an IV or a shot they may have a bumblebee called Buzzy, with them.
What Is Buzzy and How Does It Work?
Buzzy is a bee-shaped device that is made up of two parts: the body of the bee which vibrates, and the wings which are removable ice packs. Inside of Buzzy’s body is a motor that makes it vibrate, just like how when parents drive a car there is an engine inside the car that makes it move. Buzzy’s ice wings are kept in a freezer before children get shots or IVs so the wings can get cold.
After Buzzy’s wings are cool enough to use, they are put back onto Buzzy’s body. A Child Life Specialist will hold Buzzy above the area where a shot or an IV (a tiny straw that is placed into the blue lines (veins) on your arms and hands to give you medicine) will get inserted and then the vibration will begin. Buzzy will stay on the child’s body for the entire procedure. Buzzy’s main job is to use its vibrations to send a message to your brain to tell it to not let you feel any pain during the procedure.
Research On Successes of Buzzy For Children
Buzzy has been shown to have a positive effect on children experiencing less pain during invasive medical procedures. For example, in 2015, researchers tested how well Buzzy helped children, between the ages of four-years-old and twelve-years-old, who were getting an IV, at the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016). The researchers used different pictures of faces that showed different feelings to determine the effect of Buzzy during the medical procedure (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.66). Based on the pictures of the faces, a smiley face represented the number 0 and that the child had no pain (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.66), and a crying face represented the number 10 and that the child had severe pain (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.66).
In this particular examination of Buzzy, the researchers compared results between twenty-five children who used Buzzy and twenty-three children who did not (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69). When nurses inserted the IVs into the children’s’ arms, it took “62.43 seconds” (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69) to get the IV inserted into children who did not use Buzzy (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69). However, it only took nurses “44.92 seconds” (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69) to get the IV inserted into children who were using Buzzy (Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69). Similarly, the amount of pain that was expressed facially by children who did not use Buzzy was “4.38”( Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69), while the amount of pain that was expressed facially by children who used Buzzy was “2.31”( Modad, Kozman, Shahine, Ohanian, & Badr, 2016, pp.69).
This specific examination on the impact of Buzzy for children getting IVs has shown a positive effect in limiting the amount of pain and making the reducing the time of the procedure.
Moadad, N., Kozman, K., Shahine, R., Ohanian, S., & Badr, L. K. (2016). Distraction Using the BUZZY for Children During an IV Insertion. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 31(1), 64-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2015.07.010.
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