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3yo patient won’t let me cath her *SOS*

by mustlovedogs mustlovedogs (New) New Nurse

Has 13 years experience.

What do I do when my just turned 3yo client won’t let me intermittent cath her? 
She squeezes her knees together, twists and turns, screams bloody murder, squirms, pulls at my arms/hands and hair. 

I work evenings with her. There are no parents (single mom at work) there with me. I’ve tried all of the distractions, all of the “tricks” I can think of. 

I’ve told her mom what’s happening. She said it’s happening at her daycare also but there is someone there to hold her down so the other person can cath her. I feel it’s really traumatizing to this little girl. Heck, it’s traumatizing to me and what are the legalities of practically bodily forcing this on her? I don’t feel good about it at all. 

I really am not able to do it alone and I feel like it’s really traumatizing this little girl because I know it’s traumatizing to me. I feel like now that she’s 3, she’s become more aware of her own body and doesn’t want anyone other than mom in her private area. 

Anyhow. It has to be done after her bath and before I put her to bed due to urinary retention. 


Wow. That sucks, for everyone. I'm glad that you're concerned for the little one.


All I got is:

1) Ask your boss

2) Suprapubic???

3) Maybe a stupid suggestion, but can you involve her in it? Like, let her play with a catheter, or have her pretend catheterize a doll, or show her with a mirror what you're doing. I guess sterile gloves don't go down to 3-year-old size, so she probably couldn't hold the distal end while you cath her with your hands on proximal end. 

Good luck 


Specializes in retired LTC.

Has she been hurt at the daycare? And now she fears you?

LeChien, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Nursing, Pediatrics. Has 9 years experience.

I would personally reach out to your agency/company and explain what is going on and what Mom has stated to you. How have previous nurses completed straight caths on her? You definitely do not want to be holding her down causing mental and possibly physical trauma to her!

If it was me, and my agency could not offer any reasonable solutions, I would find another case. It isn't your fault you can't do your job properly given the circumstances.