Port Macquarie emergency staff hone life saving skills in advanced paediatric emergency care

LEARNING: Isabel Thiele, Elizabeth Metz, Dr Georgina McAuliffe and Dr David McDonald at the training.
LEARNING: Isabel Thiele, Elizabeth Metz, Dr Georgina McAuliffe and Dr David McDonald at the training.

A group of 24 doctors and clinical nurse educators are honing their life saving skills in a series of practical classes hosted in Port Macquarie.

The three-day special Advanced Paediatric Emergency Life Support workshop, September 13-15, aims to enhance existing skills in the emergency care of critically sick and injured children.

The practical exercises are designed to focus on team building and team work within the treating medical team.

The workshops included interactive sessions using infant and child mannequins and Associate Professor Dr David McDonald, head of department of paediatrics and director of prevocational education and training at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, said it was a crucial part of ongoing training for medical professionals.

“We know the first 20-30 minutes after an incident are vital to a person’s survival and even more so when the patient is a child,” Dr McDonald said.

“From being hit by a car to a newborn infant in dire need of help, there are similar processes which can be followed to help administer life saving care.

“So the advanced paediatric emergency life support training is paramount to the immediate care of critically injured children.

“At the three day workshop we have a range of people with different specialisations from anaesthetists to doctors and clinical nurses who would all play a role in those critical moments before the specialised help arrived.

“This is also necessary in places outside our major hospitals in places like Port Macquarie and Kempsey and further rural sites as our staff are the first responders for major accidents before the likes of a rescue helicopter or plane.”

Dr McDonald said the training is held regularly in Port Macquarie but repeated all over the country.

“We have been having this kind of training come to Port Macquarie since 2002, but the training heads out to places like Longreach and other remote communities where it would also be very much used,” he said.

Adelaide based specialist anaesthetist at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, Dr Georgina McAuliffe, said programs like this are great to get health professionals all on the same page.

“When specialists are around that is great but major accidents happen at all times of the day and night and so it is critical that everyone is speaking the same language and are on the same page until the specialists can arrive on scene,” Dr McAuliffe said.

“I come to workshops like this because I think it is vital to keep learning and refreshing those skills needed in time-sensitive situations.

“And because the training is standard it doesn’t matter if you work in Perth, Adelaide or Port Macquarie the training is still being used.”

Training participant Elizabeth Metz, a clinical nurse specialist from Port Macquarie Base Hospital, praised the training she received. 

“I am improving my skills and in turn helping my department respond to those critical calls for help and I think it is so important that we are all on the same page in emergency situations,” Ms Metz said.

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