Keeping kids safe

Keeping kids safe

Researchers develop online course focused on pediatric emergencies

By Matt Galnor

Researchers and physicians at the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville have capitalized on a state grant to provide online training to health care providers who care for children in emergency departments.

The Pediatric Emergency Care Safety Initiative, or PECSI, was developed to enhance the skills of physicians, nurses and other staff in recognizing and managing high-risk pediatric patients in emergency situations.

Injury prevention, immunizations and sudden infant death syndrome awareness have reduced the number of critically ill children seen in emergency departments, often making it difficult for some providers to maintain life-saving skills, said Phyllis Hendry, M.D., the principal investigator on the project and an associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics.

Research shows three-fourths of U.S. children are seen in general emergency departments — not in children’s hospitals. Only 4 to 10 percent of ambulance runs are for pediatric patients, and less than 1 percent of all pediatric emergency department encounters are true resuscitations.

Professionals in all emergency settings and primary care offices could often benefit from a pediatric emergency refresher course, especially since the Pediatric Emergency Care Safety Initiative comes with free continuing medical education credits that are needed to keep licenses current and meet state trauma center recommendations, Hendry said.

The program was funded by a $450,000 grant from the Florida Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association, which was designed to support initiatives geared toward improving patient safety.

The initiative was developed to improve awareness and treatment of pediatric patient safety issues in emergent situations, Hendry said. The program is presented in an e-learning Web-based format and includes educational modules on shock, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, medication safety, legal and risk issues, and pitfalls in pediatric post-resuscitation care.

The online courses use videos and medical diagrams to help physicians, nurses and paramedics learn the information. The website also includes educational resources such as training scenarios and is frequently used in group learning sessions for students and residents. The course will continue to be offered at no charge for at least another year.

The program can be accessed at