Ready for the worst

PREPARED: Tenterfield Hospital nursing staff (from left) Norma Rhodes, Elaine Montague, Stacey Butler and Kimberley Druitt get in some hands-on practice under the supervision of paediatric clinical nurse consultant Helen Stevens (at back) and EMET trainer Dr Liz Jones.
PREPARED: Tenterfield Hospital nursing staff (from left) Norma Rhodes, Elaine Montague, Stacey Butler and Kimberley Druitt get in some hands-on practice under the supervision of paediatric clinical nurse consultant Helen Stevens (at back) and EMET trainer Dr Liz Jones.

Tenterfield nursing staff are now better prepared to deal with emergencies involving babies and children thanks to the Emergency Medicine Education and Training (EMET) program reaching the hospital for the first time.

Operating since 2012 the federally-funded program is delivered by specialist emergency medicine doctors – in this case Dr Liz Jones of the Tamworth Emergency Department – to support clinicians working in rural and remote areas who may not often be confronted by such cases but need to be well-prepared when they are.

“It’s about trialling skills and making plans and to-do lists while they’re in a safe environment,” Dr Jones said.

“We want to support clinicians working with restricted resources.”

While the program is funded to this year, Dr Jones is hoping that funding will be extended for this important service, with hopes that it can be taken to hospitals west of Tamworth in the future.

On this northern trip, Tenterfield Hospital was the first stop followed by Emmaville, Inverell and Guyra as the team made its way back to its Tamworth Base.

While handling trauma and heart attacks would be addressed in other centres, in Tenterfield the focus was on paediatric emergencies. 

Nurses faced a simulated case of a three-month-old presenting with bronchiolitis symptoms, something the local team said could happen as we head into winter. While going through the process of treating the baby, the nurses had lots of questions for Dr Jones and her colleague Helen Stevens, a paediatric clinical nurse consultant, at each step. The simulator automatically reflected changes in the baby’s condition as a result of the treatment it received.

They also constructed a to-do list of equipment to get in, phone numbers to have by the emergency room phone and options they could use should they find themselves short-staffed and without a doctor present when an emergency arises, which could well be the case. 

Local nurse Norma Rhodes said she found the training very professional.

“The hands-on stuff was really good, getting to practise on equipment that you rarely use,” she said.

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