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What Is Pediatric Trauma Nursing?

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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Pediatric trauma nursing is a medical specialty dedicated to providing basic care to children in medical crisis. Most of the time, nurses in this field work in hospitals. They may also work in outpatient clinics, checking up on children after initial trauma treatment has been administered.

Professionals trained in pediatric trauma nursing are usually some of the first to treat children who have been involved in serious accidents or who have contracted life-threatening illnesses or complications. In medicine, the designation “trauma” is usually applied to situations where immediate, often split-second care is required in order for patients to survive. Cases in this category are usually catastrophic and often very complicated. Nurses usually focus on stabilizing patients and assessing all injuries so that doctors can make appropriate diagnoses and care decisions.

Not all nurses are qualified to practice pediatric trauma nursing. Most of the time, professionals in this specialty must hold credentials in both pediatric nursing and trauma nursing. A lot of time and training is required to become a trauma nurse. The field is accordingly rather small, and is often considered elite.

Pediatric trauma nursing focuses on pediatric critical care. The goal is usually to quickly take account of a suffering child’s condition. Nurses must be able to identify medical problems and administer basic care, including treating wounds, setting up intravenous drug lines, and performing preliminary diagnoses.

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In large trauma wards, nurses usually perform only basic care. They will often perform patient intake and prep children for surgery as necessary. Monitoring the conditions and vital statistics of patients in recovery is usually standard, and communicating with parents and guardians may also be part of the job.

A nurse’s responsibilities depend at least in part on the size of the hospital and the number of doctors on staff. In small facilities, nurses often take primary responsibility for trauma patients. Nursing personnel cannot perform surgery, but they can do almost everything else. When doctors are not available, a trauma nurse is usually able to provide complete care. At the very least, these nurses stabilize patients while waiting for a doctor’s expertise.

Pediatric trauma nursing can also focus on recovery. Most of the time, trauma doctors enter the scene to diagnose and fix problems, but they usually move on to the next patient before recovery has a chance to set in. Nurses are usually trained to look for signs of proper healing and often see patients through the entire recovery process.

Most pediatric trauma centers maintain outpatient clinics where children can return at set intervals to have their progress monitored. These clinics are usually staffed by pediatric trauma nursing units. Here, nurses will see children on a recurring basis to ensure that their recovery is progressing according to expectations. If any additional care or therapies are required, the nurses either provide them on-site, or make referrals.

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