Child-related services in general accident and emergency departments

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A survey undertaken by the British Paediatric Association (BPA) in 1985 highlighted deficits in the services and facilities provided by accident and emergency (A&E) departments for children. Following this survey several documents were published by professional and voluntary organizations advising on the care of children in such departments. The current study, conducted as part of a larger project, involved the distribution of questionnaires (by post) to the nursing managers of a total of 193 general A&E departments in England, Scotland and Wales. The overall response rate of 87% was very encouraging. This article explores the nurse managers' perceptions of the personnel required to meet the needs of children in A&E. It looks especially at the role of Registered Sick Children's Nurses (RSCNs). The findings suggest that the need for RSCNs is not always accepted. RSCNs seem to be employed in some departments as a token presence. Factors seen by nurse managers as limiting their recruitment are discussed. According to the responses given, the role of the RSCNs currently employed in A&E, varies considerably. The findings give some insight into the degree to which current staffing for children in A&E meet the guidelines published by professional and voluntary bodies.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Post Graduate Researcher, Faculty of Health and Community Studies, University of the West of England, St. Mattias Campus, Oldbury Court Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2JP, England

Publication date: December 1, 1996

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