Skills training for Wollongong paediatric staff

When a desperately ill child is brought into an emergency department, it is a pressure cooker situation for everyone involved.

Dr Stewart Birt. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Dr Stewart Birt. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The condition of a septic child can deteriorate rapidly, so doctors need to be calm and well versed in what to do next.

Yesterday, Dr Stewart Birt, a paediatric emergency physician at Wollongong Hospital, gave doctors the chance to practise their skills without the pressure.

Using child mannequins, they worked through emergency procedures without the "very stressful" factors they face when critically ill children present to the emergency department.

"An example is a child who presents with meningococcal disease, who can deteriorate very quickly and require basic life support and must be prepared for transferral to the ICU," Dr Birt said.

"It's about skilling up our emergency staff so they know how to handle the different problems that can quickly arise."

Dr Birt said the training was part of the Resus4Kids program - a state-based paediatric life support training program for health care rescuers who may be involved in the initial resuscitation of an infant or child in respiratory or cardiac arrest.

Wollongong Hospital junior medical staff take part in the course designed for medical and nursing students, paramedics, practising doctors and nurses and allied health workers.

Yesterday's forum was organised by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District hospital skills program director of training Dr Anna Di Marco and hosted by the UOW Graduate School of Medicine.

Dr Di Marco said the state-based program was about continuing the professional development of the medical workforce, with a focus on skills development and communication skills for emergency department doctors.


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