Special Needs: Rural California Pediatric Emergency Care

Developing, producing and distributing an interactive education program for nurses on emergency medical services to children in rural areas

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Research and Education Institute implemented model systems of emergency medical services for children in rural and remote communities in northern California and developed curricular and training materials to support the systems.

At the time the first grants were made, emergency medical services (EMS) were often ill equipped to handle the special emergency needs of children, and the problem was especially acute in rural and remote areas.

Key Results: Research and Education Institute accomplished the following:

  • Developed and implemented two models: one covering a rural area in northern California (NorCal EMS) and the other covering a more remote area, the North Coast EMS. The counties within the two systems encompass 25 percent of the state's area and as of the 1980 census had an estimated population of more than 165,000 children.
  • Assessed the training needs of emergency pediatric personnel and developed educational materials, including nursing modules on respiratory, neurological and cardiovascular assessment of pediatric emergency patients in a self-paced, case-oriented format.
  • Established the Pediatric Rural Emergency Systems and Education Project (PRESEP).
  • Produced and distributed an interactive, CD-ROM version of these training materials called "The Acutely Ill or Injured Pediatric Patient: An Interactive Educational Program." The CD-ROM was distributed to 680 nursing schools in the United States.

Afterward: The self-learning modules in emergency pediatric care were revised and incorporated into the Pediatric Emergency Nursing Manual, which was published in 1994 by the Springer Publishing Company. The book received the Nursing Book of the Year award of the American Journal of Nursing.

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