“We heal for them,” goes the motto at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, but a child who’s been poked numerous times getting an IV line inserted can tell you there’s pain on the road to healing. Nurse Cody Peters decided to do something about that.
“I could see firsthand the physical and emotional pain and the stress that not only the patient but the parents went through” during the IV process, he said. Peters, then a pediatric ICU nurse at the hospital, was doing research toward his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and learned about the J-Tip, a device developed to numb the spot targeted for an IV. To study this device for his DNP research project, he turned to his mentor and boss, Ashley Barquin, who is also a graduate of PBA’s DNP program.
“Cody has a true passion for helping pediatric patients as well as nursing in general,” said Barquin, assistant chief nursing officer at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital. She had hired Peters, and she eagerly agreed to help him plan a J-Tip study.
Instead of a needle, the J-Tip uses a CO2 cartridge to force a numbing agent under the skin. According to the manufacturer, this allows a virtually painless IV insertion. However, many hospitals are not yet using the device. “Often, when you need to insert an IV, you want to do it fast, so you can give a kid extra fluids or medications,” Peters said. In those cases, many nurses don’t want to add an extra step like using the J-Tip.
Additionally, Barquin has observed that someone proposing a new device or technique runs into hospital staff set in their ways. “Introducing change into nursing can be hard,” she said. “But with the DNP we often take research that’s out there and put it into play.” So she guided Peters getting a study approved at the hospital.
After receiving the green light from hospital officials, Peters needed approval from the parents of pediatric patients who would be involved. And Peters went an extra step, also getting an assent from each child. Only a few people declined to participate, he said, and the study proceeded with 55 children enrolled.
Peters randomly assigned the children into two groups: a control group that received IVs inserted the conventional way, and an intervention group that received their IVs with the help of the J-Tip. Pain scores were assessed for each patient, and the J-Tip group reported significantly less pain, with no severe adverse effects.
As a result of the study, Palm Beach Children’s Hospital adopted a new policy to use the J-Tip, so Peters achieved his goal: “eliminating pain for these kids.”
“Cody really wants the best for his patients,” said Barquin. “He’s a fantastic nurse.”
Peters graduated with his DNP in May, and soon afterward moved to New York City, where he now works in the cardiac ICU of prestigious Mount Sinai Hospital. He earned three nursing degrees at PBA, bachelor’s, master’s and DNP, and he looks back gratefully at the experience.
“My professors, my clinical adjuncts and all the people who have helped me through nursing school have always been there for me,” said Peters. He recalled the encouraging feedback he often received.
“It’s a very hard job to be a nurse, and having someone say, ‘good job,’ or ‘you’re doing great,’ even when you’re not perfect, boosts your morale and your confidence,” he said. “That really helped me as a nurse and as a person in general.” And his fellow DNP grad Ashley Barquin, Peters said, “was amazing” as preceptor and mentor.
As an undergraduate nursing major, Peters earned a minor in psychology, and he developed a love for research and skill in writing scientific papers. Now at Mount Sinai Hospital he’s already looking for new research opportunities. He hopes to keep working for new evidence-based practices to better serve patients and advance his profession.