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UF researchers develop online course on pediatric emergencies for doctors, nurses and prehospital staff

Published: August 3, 2012
Steven A. Godwin, M.D., FACEP
Phyllis L. Hendry, M.D., FAAP, FACEP
Madeline M. Joseph, M.D.
Robert C. Luten, M.D.

Researchers and physicians at the University of Florida 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 (PECSI) was developed to enhance the skills of physicians, nurses and other staff in recognizing and managing high-risk pediatric patients in emergent situations.

Injury prevention, immunizations and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 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., FAAP, FACEP, principal investigator on the project and an associate professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics. Treatment is challenging due to age ranges from newborns to adolescents and the need for weight-based equipment and medications.

Research shows 75 percent 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 PECSI comes with free CME and CEU 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 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.

Faculty and staff have presented the program at nine scientific meetings so far and publications will be forthcoming. Hendry and Colleen Kalynych, M.S.H., Ed.D., director of research and educational development in the emergency medicine department, recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where they presented the PECSI program at the International Conference on Emergency Medicine.

Other faculty who contributed to the program include Steven A. Godwin, M.D., FACEP, chair of the department of emergency medicine and emergency medicine professors Madeline M. Joseph, M.D. and Robert C. Luten, M.D.

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 program can be accessed at http://emedjax-pecsi.com.

The PECSI course offers the advantage of obtaining continuing education credits without the cost of travel or registration which has become important as hospitals, universities and state agencies experience budget and travel cuts and reductions in training dollars.

The course will continue to be offered at no charge for at least another year. After that, Hendry said the plan is to remove sign-in requirements and discontinue the CME credits but keep the information online so professionals and students can use it as a resource. The site has had more than 90,000 visitors and the feedback has been excellent. Hendry and other investigators hope to obtain continued funding to add additional course topics and maintain the program.

Steven A. Godwin, M.D., FACEP
Phyllis L. Hendry, M.D., FAAP, FACEP
Madeline M. Joseph, M.D.
Robert C. Luten, M.D.

For more information, please contact:
UF Health Media Relations
904-244-3268