Using play as a distraction technique for children undergoing medical procedures

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Nurses have a key role in facilitating play for children and young people in their care. Both play therapy and distraction techniques are skills required as part of the Future Nurse proficiencies (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018).
Distraction is commonly used by both health professionals and family members to support a child experiencing pain or distress (Koller and Goldman, 2012). Distraction as a non-pharmacological strategy can be seen as a cost-effective approach to reducing adverse childhood experiences and increasing the opportunity for a family-centred approach.
It is important for nurses to be knowledgeable about developmentally appropriate ways to encourage play in a safe and supportive environment for children and young people.
Play is an essential part of childhood that supports the development of motor and verbal skills (Stonehouse et al, 2018). There is variety in the frequency and type of play children take part in; however, it can be argued that play is motivating, involves the child’s attention in the ‘play journey’, is often symbolic, free of external rules
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-143
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020


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