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Emergency Pediatric Patient Care Advancements in Pictou County

Oct 7, 2022

Home 5 News 5 Emergency Pediatric Patient Care Advancements in Pictou County

Amelia MacKenzie, a Registered Nurse in the Aberdeen Hospital’s emergency department, recently completed the Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course in Dartmouth, NS with funding from the Aberdeen Health Foundation’s Edith Were Fraser Family Memorial Endowment. This two-day course provided attendees with a systematic assessment process for treating children in an emergency care setting.

Amelia MacKenzie has worked as a Registered Nurse in the emergency department at the Aberdeen Hospital for over two and a half years. During that time, she has assessed patients of all ages, some as young as two days old. While it is more common to see adult and geriatric patients, MacKenzie says, pediatric patients can often prove to be more challenging.

“It can be difficult for a lot of health care workers to feel confident in caring for pediatric patients,” MacKenzie explains. “They aren’t just tiny adults. Children have illnesses that affect them differently and often present very differently than an adult patient. They can’t communicate symptoms in the same way adults can and you need to rely more heavily on your physical assessment and visual cues. You have to be really confident in your ability to assess them properly.”

As health care is always evolving, standards of care and practice recommendations are constantly updating to conform with the latest evidence-based information. As part of her continuing education, Amelia recently joined with nurses from all over the province to complete a two-day Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This was the first time this course was offered in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and course attendees learned a systematic assessment process for pediatric patients presenting with any type of illness or trauma.

“The course taught us how to work through every step of the assessment process to ensure that no matter what is going on with the child, you’re not missing anything. It gives you those steps for properly assessing every symptom, intervening, and then circling back to reassess.”

MacKenzie was the only nurse in Pictou County to attend the course and is thankful to be able to take this knowledge back to her colleagues. “I had heard a lot of great things about this course before attending. We spent time learning the assessment processes as well as doing interactive group work. It was taught by three very qualified pediatric nurses, each with decades of experience. Thankfully, we don’t see a lot of really sick children in our emergency department, so listening to these experienced nurses share the cases they had seen and hearing their advice for specific scenarios was highly beneficial. Now, I can take this information back with me and share it with my coworkers as well.”

MacKenzie’s attendance at the course was made possible by the Edith Were Fraser Family Memorial Endowment, which was established through the Aberdeen Health Foundation to provide continuing education opportunities for nursing staff in Pictou County.

“If it wasn’t for this memorial fund,” notes Amelia, “I wouldn’t have been able to attend the course. This wasn’t a required course, so I wasn’t able to get funding from my employer and I wasn’t in a position to pay out of pocket. My biggest takeaway from the course is the confidence I now feel in working with this new tool and in my ability to provide care for pediatric patients. I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity.”