A 9 year old girl, whose ears were beautifully and gently pierced today, came to Rowan with an all too familiar story… "I am too nervous to get my ears pierced!"
She had been wanting to get her ears pierced since her sixth birthday, but every time she would go to the piercing salons, she would never be able to go through with it. The piercers were unfamiliar on how to handle an anxious child, and instead of using techniques to calm her, they would have preferred to “just hold her down." Both mom and daughter agreed that was NOT the approach they wanted for such a celebratory milestone. Luckily, they found Rowan!
Anxiety, or the act of feeling worried or nervous, is common amongst children (and adults!) when getting their ears pierced. Most individuals fear pain. Others may feel anxious about the piercing modality, placement of their new piercing, or risk of infection post piercing. Although these are all legitimate concerns, there are numerous ways our Nurses can help to alleviate one’s fears:
As a part of the Rowan experience, we offer a topical numbing cream with every piercing. This numbing cream contains a lidocaine derivative, in addition to aloe and vitamin E. Upon application, the numbing cream kicks in within minutes, ensuring a more pleasurable piercing experience. The use of numbing cream has been widely researched in multiple medical procedures including vaccination, suturing, and phlebotomy. It has been found that numbing cream, as well as other topical anesthetics, are effective at reducing procedural pain. (Shah et al., 2015).
Our nurses have vast experience working with infants, toddlers, and children within their practice. Our nurses deal with procedural-based anxiety day in and day out, so they are well equipped to handle the anxious guest. There are numerous tactics used by nurses to help distract an anxious piercee. In one controlled medical study, cards and music were used as distraction techniques during venipuncture blood draws. These methods of distraction were found highly effective in decreasing both pain and anxiety during the procedure (Aydin & Sahiner, 2016). Some methods we've used include blowing our Rowan branded pinwheels, playing fun and exciting music in the background, using audiovisual techniques on a smartphone, as well as simply talking about common interests!
One tactic that I find particularly useful when piercing a younger child’s ear, is having them list off all of their classmates. I find that this trick, as opposed to counting, works well.
Nurses also understand that everyone has different comfort levels! When accommodations are made in advance, we are able to pierce both ears at once with the assistance of an extra nurse. This seamless experience helps ensure that the ear piercing is completed as quickly as possible.
Rowan works with licensed professional nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners. In addition to being highly skilled in piercing services, our nurses are well equipped to handle the anxious guest and help ensure the best possible outcome. You're in great hands!
This content has been written by Rowan Nurse, Melissa. Melissa is a full-time pediatric nurse at a private practice in Connecticut and the Rowan Regional Nurse Manager. She holds a BSN from Columbia University.
Aydin, D., & Sahiner, N. (2016). Effects of music therapy and distraction cards on pain relief during phlebotomy in children. Applied Nursing Research, 33, 164-168. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apnr.2016.11.011
Shah, V., Taddio, A., McMurtry, C.M., Halperin, S.A., Noel, M., Pillai Riddell, R., & Chambers, C.T. (2015). Pharmacoligical and combined interventions to reduce vaccine injection pain in children and adults. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 31(Suppl 10), S38-S63. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000281