Creating an Emergency Care Signature for Pediatric Patients

Marlene Schmidt
Marlene Schmidt

Two nursing development specialists with the Yale New Haven Health system will provide insights for leveling the playing field for treating pediatric patients in emergency departments outside of dedicated children’s hospitals in an Emergency Nursing 2021 Encore presentation.

Encore sessions will be available Oct. 13-Jan. 31 on the EN21 virtual meeting platform.

Pediatric patients come through the doors of every ED, even where there are adult and pediatric EDs side by side, as is the case at Yale New Haven Hospital.

“Our adult ED and our pediatric ED are right next door to one another, but their entrances are not, and they have had people walk into the adult ED with a pediatric patient who was in respiratory arrest,” said, Marlene Schmidt, who works at the health system’s Bridgeport Hospital. “So, [ED nurses] need to be equally prepared to jump into action for that.”

Jessica Mancarella
Jessica Mancarella

Jessica Mancarella, who is based at the health system’s Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, will join Schmidt in presenting Care Signature – Setting ED Pediatric Education Standards Across a Health System.

“Our presentation is about making sure no matter what resources each separate hospital has, we’re able to give the very best evidence-based care across the board to our vulnerable pediatric patients,” Mancarella said.

The pair discusses topics including pediatric equipment, distraction techniques and availability of resources.

Studies over the past 20 years have shown that about 85 percent of pediatric patient visits to the ED are in departments that treat only a few handfuls of children each day, said Mancarella, who has more than a decade of ED and intensive care experience.

“There’s a difference in skill sets, a difference in experiences, a difference in education across the board,” she said. “And yet these patients are the future, and that’s who we are trying to care for.”

But, as pediatric patient care advocates often say, children are not little adults. They have unique anatomy, physiology and disease processes that ED nurses must consider.

“They are their own people, and it’s important not to view them as little adults,” Mancarella said. “There are different diagnoses that can be seen in kids that differ so much from adults. Kids don’t compensate, so once they go bad, it can be the difference between life or death.”

Any ED can improve its care for this patient population, Mancarella and Schmidt asserted. Within their own health system, the pediatric emergency care strategy includes time at the pediatric hospital during orientation for every nurse working in the adult ED.

“We’re going to talk a lot about the importance of education and standardized education for pediatrics and why it’s so important to know what resources are available, how to get those resources and how to tap into finding the important pieces of information that you should have,” Schmidt said, noting simulations that enable ED nurses to practice their skills are a key component to training.

She equates establishing systemwide standards of ED care for pediatric patients with disaster management.

“Part of the disaster management cycle is mitigation preparedness, and then you respond,” she explained. “When you respond, that’s when you realize perhaps you weren’t prepared. You go back to that mitigation to figure out what you missed.”

Registration, which includes access to EN21 On-demand content, is available for $199 until Oct. 20, after which the registration price increases to $250. Registration closes Dec. 1.