Objective Recognition of the seriously ill or injured paediatric patient involves both technical and critical thinking skills to ensure early and appropriate care and optimal outcomes are reached. Nurses working in adult/paediatric emergency departments (ED), which see few children, report that they are less confident and lacking in knowledge when caring for children. Our aim was to determine if a lack of confidence, skills and knowledge may be attributed to paediatric population size and determine if the introduction of a secondment programme would improve confidence, enhance knowledge and build on clinical skills.
Methodology The Greater Eastern and Southern Child Health Network (GESCHN) in collaboration with Sydney Children’s Hospital (SCH), Randwick implemented the nursing and allied health secondment project to enhance and facilitate opportunities for the professional development of nurses working with children. Outcomes were measured using pre and postsecondment questionnaires at three intervals and secondee’s managers surveyed to determine objectively the outcomes for the secondee, their patients and colleagues.
Results A notable increase in confidence, knowledge and skills were reported by all and supported by the data collected.
Conclusion The secondment project is a popular and innovative approach to staff development. Secondees and their mentors continued encouragement, the sharing of ideas, the cross-fertilisation of skills and all report secondment as a valuable and safe method of increasing confidence and knowledge. This presentation will discuss the nursing model developed, the strengths and challenges faced and the outcomes and evaluation of the pilot project to date.