Faculty Advisor

Michelle Rickard, DNP, CPNP-AC, CHPPN, BMTCN

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2023


Investigative Techniques | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Pediatric Nursing



Pediatric pain management is often overlooked due to time constraints and lack of resources or education on interventions used, such as distraction or pharmacological therapy. Lack of pain management leads to patient and caregiver distress, as well as an increased number of attempts to perform the procedure. This scoping review evaluates the efficacy of distraction therapy compared to nonopioid pharmacological interventions for acute needlestick pain in children ages 6 to 12 years; patient and caregiver levels of distress were also evaluated in most studies.


The UTHSC (University of Tennessee Health Science Center) Library database was searched for full-text articles published in the last 5 years. Terms used included “pediatric needlestick pain”, “pain management”, “distraction and acute pain”, “lumbar puncture”, and “venipuncture”. 37 articles resulted, 25 underwent rapid critical appraisal for quality of evidence which resulted in 10 articles being selected based on ages 6 to 12 years, pain scale, intervention, and relevance to our PICOT question.


Of our 10 articles, 6 articles demonstrated reduced pain when using distraction techniques. 7 articles showed decreased anxiety, fear, and distress. 5 articles stated increased parental and patient satisfaction. 2 articles reported decreased staff distress. However, only 3 articles demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in pain scores.

Implications for Nursing Practice

Although few of our articles showed statistical significance in pain reduction, most of our articles report lower pain scores with interventions used. Separating pain and anxiety in the pediatric population is difficult, therefore any reduction in pain scores should be seen as significant and interventions should be implemented appropriately.