Objective It is recognised that children are different and have unique requirements of care. Provision of emergency paediatric services in hospitals most commonly occurs in a mixed adult/paediatric environment. 75% of patients seen in emergency departments (ED) are adults and in this setting it is not uncommon for clinical staff to lack knowledge and confidence in treating children. The Greater Eastern and Southern Child Health Network (GESCHN) was developed to facilitate consumer confidence in local hospitals by standardising paediatric care with a statewide approach.
Method To achieve this and enhance staff confidence and skill levels, GESCHN placed a strong focus on providing educational and clinical support to providers of child health services. Eight clinical nurse consultants (CNC) were employed to support local healthcare providers and to raise awareness of the needs of children treated in non-specialist centres. In an effort to support quality care and clinical practice improvement, the CNC facilitated efforts directed at stimulating change and strengthening leadership through clinical initiatives, projects, education and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.
Results Work alongside nurses, physicians and paediatricians in implementing these processes has been extremely successful. CNC have facilitated the exchange of best practice and helped develop skills and expertise. Aiming for quality improvement measures and current trends in care, the CNC fosters and maintains cohesion between hospitals and strives to improve consumer confidence.
Conclusion This presentation will overview the role of the network CNC and describes the various ways in which the positions have improved paediatric care.