New ultrasound equipment means fewer needle 'pokes' and less stress for pediatric patients

CMN grant funds device that gives UC Davis Children’s Hospital care teams better access to tiny veins, benefitting tiny patients


From lab draws to intravenous (IV) placement, needles can be particularly frightening for pediatric patients. This experience is often further complicated by the fact that children’s veins are harder to see, meaning more “pokes”. But a new portable ultrasound machine at UC Davis Children’s Hospital – funded by a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN) grant – gives the care team a tool that helps minimize needle placement attempts and more importantly, lessen the stress and pain involved. 

This ultrasound device allows staff to see pediatric patient vascular structure so there are fewer “pokes” when placing  an IV
This ultrasound device allows staff to see pediatric patient vascular structure so there are fewer “pokes” when placing an IV

“We have had so much success using this device,” said Jonathan Trask, critical care nurse at UC Davis Health and author of the CMN grant. “When we’re able to directly visualize kids’ small veins and have ultrasound guided access, our placement rate increases dramatically. It’s all about making the patients more comfortable and this device helps us better help the kids.” 

Fewer “pokes” mean decreased anxiety and pain for patients, and there’s  a positive effect on staff as well. 

“When you have to try multiple times to obtain vascular access, it can make the patient more fearful and  can be upsetting to the family,” said Children’s Hospital nurse educator Michelle Linenberger. “No care provider wants to make the hospital experience harder than it already is, so this  amazing technology allows us to expedite quality care and make  the IV placement  much less traumatic for all involved.” 

Veins are much easier to see thanks to images generated by the ultrasound.

This new ultrasound device is just one example of UC Davis Children’s Hospital and CMN’s commitment to comfort and pain management solutions for pediatric patients. Specialized programs like the pediatric pain team provide inpatient and outpatient consults and provide guidance on pain management and therapeutic options in collaboration with patients, families and care providers. Another CMN grant funded initiative, the Comfort Commitment, aims to create a plan to increase a patient’s comfort level  during  procedures to  improve the quality of care. 

“I am so incredibly grateful to CMN for the generous donation so we could purchase this equipment,” Trask said. “It is already paying dividends as we reduce and mitigate patients’ pain, one child at a time.”

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit