Learn the Red Flags of Pediatric Triage

Deb Jeffries will bring the accelerated pace of triage to an Oct. 1 Fast Track session about the principles of pediatric triage.

Deb Jeffries
Deb Jeffries

“Many nurses are anxious when it comes to accurately assessing children, particularly in the triage area, when you sometimes have only seconds to make your assessment,” said Jeffries, a nursing content specialist for ENA. “We will discuss what things you can identify quickly to be able to make safe decisions on your immediate interventions.”

The half-hour rapid-fire session, “What’s Under That Blanket?! Tips, Tricks and Pearls of Pediatric Triage,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Four Seasons Ballroom and will be livestreamed for Emergency Nursing 2022 attendees with Digital Access.

Jeffries, co-author of the recent book “Rapid Access Guide for Pediatric Emergencies,” will review the steps for initial assessment when pediatric patients arrive in the ED and explain why having a systematic approach helps the overall assessment process.

“It has to begin with visualizing every pediatric patient on arrival,” she said. “That can be problematic depending on physical plant concerns, staffing issues and so forth, but that’s one non-negotiable element when it comes to pediatric triage. We have to be able to look at them.”

Emergency nurses also must understand and be able to identify potential red flags that may show up during a primary assessment. Life-threatening red flags must be recognized quickly.

Her focus will be on best practices in pediatric triage, which don’t always line up with common practice.

“Triage itself is a dynamic and yet contentious area because it’s so stressful,” Jeffries said. “The perspective of this session is not only will it improve patient safety, but it will allow you to be more confident in the decisions you make because you’re making those decisions based on evidence-based practice.”

Jeffries will also cover special triage considerations such as signs of and risk factors for child maltreatment and human trafficking.  

“We may have a high index of suspicion for very obvious situations, but the literature shows that, particularly for human trafficking of children, many of them come to the ED and are discharged without anyone identifying that they are being trafficked,” Jeffries said. “That process of identification has to start at the front door.”

Triage begins the process through which clinicians might notice risk factors, child behaviors and behaviors of the people who bring the child in that might cause a flag to go up, she said.

All nurses who come in contact with pediatric ED patients are encouraged to attend this session, whether they see children daily or infrequently, particularly if they are newer to the triage role. 

“This is a 30-minute session, so bring your learning running shoes,” Jeffries said. “Listen very closely for those things that you can take away and apply to your clinical practice that will allow you to be more confident and competent at triage.”

Register Today for Emergency Nursing 2023

 Registration for Emergency Nursing 2023 is still open! Level up with ENA and thousands of your emergency nursing peers in sunny San Diego on Sept. 21-23. Attendees can look forward to immersive experiences with hands-on learning opportunities, high-quality sessions, networking events and can’t-miss celebrations sure to propel their careers onward and upward.