Role of pediatric emergency nursing
By Archita Datta Majumdar

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Emergency nursing is perhaps the most challenging branch of the profession, and when it comes to pediatric emergency nursing it definitely takes a special breed of professionals to bring about significant change in the lives of the little patients.

Most emergency room cases are related to trauma and injury, which means nurses have to be fast on their feet and act quickly to contain the life-threatening situations. Even with illness-bound cases, an ER visit would mean acceleration of a problem that would again need special training to solve immediate issues on the spot. From sore throats and fevers to major trauma and heart attacks, pediatric emergency nurses are well trained to handle all situations calmly.

While they are mostly posted in the ERs of major hospital, more and more pediatric emergency nurses are now also frequently seen in urgent care centers, ambulances and as part of air medical teams whenever they have serious and urgent child patients to take care of. Neonates, infants and toddlers, little children, preteens and adolescents — all fall under the purview of pediatric nursing, making it quite a vast field than otherwise thought of. The needs of children visiting the ER are unique, and therefore they need special care and supervision by specially trained personnel.

In most cases, children brought to general ERs face the same rush and chaos that underlines all ER environments. While ER personnel are well-trained, competent and compassionate, they are faced with tremendous pressure to handle and effectively care for all patients who come in through their doors. In such a scenario it is difficult for them to provide focused care for the little ones, at least the kind they deserve.

More than 31 million ED visits each year are for pediatric cases, most of which are to general emergency rooms. Recent estimates show that for every second there is at least one pediatric patient seeking ER care in the U.S. Without training and supervision, there will inevitably be a delay in care and proper intervention, leading to the rising statistics of pediatric death in the country.

Enter the pediatric emergency nurse who has been trained specially to avoid this national statistic from worsening any further. Pediatric emergency nursing involves a family-oriented caregiving atmosphere that focuses more on sensitivity and human needs assistance than any other medical care environment. Key features of pediatric emergency nursing include:
  • Handling multifaceted trauma, injury or illness cases with equal calmly without letting the patients feel the urgency of the situation
  • Stabilizing patients with focused and wholesome care
  • Quickly diagnosing conditions and providing on-spot solutions
  • Administering the right medications to minimize pain
  • Keeping up with the fast-paced work environment by constantly upgrading skills and knowledge
  • Being patient and caring for the families who accompany the little patients and working on easing their mental trauma
  • Most importantly, not giving in to heartbreak and despair when some cases do not see improvement or success. Learning to control emotions and moving on is the key to helping more and more patients in this work environment.
Pediatric emergency nursing falls under advanced-practice nursing, which involves advanced education in this specific discipline once registered nurse training is completed and the national certiļ¬cation examination is successfully passed. The government has to come up with more and more training options to increase the number of specialized professionals in the field.

The need of the hour is also to increase funding for hospitals so there can be improved resources for pediatric care and more pediatric emergency nurses to provide appropriate care for the little ones brought in. Of course, the nurses cannot work without the right tools, so funding should also include ample medications, well-equipped rooms, right equipment and medical tools, upgraded training sessions, along with modernized hospital and state policies to support every development for the department. Only then can ERs and the pediatric emergency nursing team properly care for children of all ages.

The future of emergency care in the United States depends as much on the development of the right policies as it does with increased awareness for specialties that can effectively contain child health issues and optimize the emergency care of children.

Archita Datta Majumdar has been writing for various industries for more than 14 years. She has contributed articles to The Economic Times, the leading financial daily of India, and she loves research, business analysis and knowledge management, which paves the way for a steep learning curve.