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Children and young people (C&YP) who present for unscheduled care often have to spend long periods in emergency departments (EDs). These waits can be stressful for C&YP and accompanying responsible adults, particularly if they are accompanied by the patients' brothers and sisters
In such situations, ED waiting areas can become overcrowded, and the management of C&YP areas by nursing and medical staff becomes especially difficult.
One of the rewards of editing this journal is the opportunity it provides to share innovative forms of practice with colleagues. This issue, for example, discusses a nurse-led innovation involving the assessment and discharge of C&YP from triage to ensure they do not have to wait in EDs unnecessarily.
It is generally acknowledged that C&YP should be cared for by registered nurses who are qualified in paediatric care, but also that there are too few of these nurses to staff all the clinical areas in which C&YP receive care. By drawing up a flow chart with easy‑to-follow options, Lorraine Lawton has made the patient pathway clearer, and thereby ensured ED journeys for C&YP can be briefer.
It would be great to hear from nurses who are developing similar nurse-led discharge initiatives. How, for example, should emergency nurses respond if C&YP are judged to have 'borderline' conditions? Should or could the flow chart include an option for staff to seek advice from senior or consultant members of staff under such circumstances?
It would also be interesting to find out about initiatives that were developed with the help of C&YP. After all, as Baroness Butler-Sloss wrote in her 1988 report on the previous year's inquiry into child abuse in Cleveland: 'We must remember that the child is a person and not just an object of concern.'
Editorial | November 2012 | Volume 20 Number 7
Emergency Nurse encourages innovation and promotes professional excellence in all pre-hospital and emergency care settings. The journal is editorially independent and opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect the policies of the Royal College of Nursing or those of contributors' employing organisations.