Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Whitney Heischmidt

Project Team Faculty Member

Rebecca Collier


Pediatric anesthesia, pediatric anxiety, nonpharmacologic distraction methods, pharmacology distraction methods, Erikson's Stages of development, anesthetic induction



Most pediatric patients will experience anxiety to some degree during the perioperative period. Unrecognized and untreated anxiety can lead to complications during induction of anesthesia and may manifest as maladaptive behaviors that can last up to 6 months postoperatively. Multiple modalities are typically utilized to provide the greatest amount of anxiety relief with minimal side effects. Nonpharmacological methods of distraction have been proven effective when used in combination with pharmacological agents, as well as when used alone. The goal of this project was to create and present an educational resource tool regarding pharmacological and nonpharmacological distraction methods for pediatric patients during the perioperative period. Following a brief educational presentation, participants were asked to complete an anonymous and voluntary 10-question survey to evaluate the value and efficacy of the resource tool. Overall, participants expressed an increase in knowledge and preparation in caring for pediatric patients after the presentation. Approximately one-third of the participants were not aware of the negative effects of untreated anxiety, further demonstrating a need for education on this topic. Increasing staff education at the host facility, as well as providing a variety of recommendations for distraction techniques, will better equip anesthesia providers to tailor distraction interventions to individual patient needs, resulting in a more pleasant operative experience for the entire family unit.

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