The pediatric population is unique in many ways. Not only are their physiology and pathophysiology different from adults, but their presentation affects the way we must approach them. Certain basic principles apply to all children, yet there are also special problems that only affect them. When working in pediatrics, one must constantly be aware of these differences instead of approaching each patient as if they were an adult.
A majority of pediatric doctors had some form of pediatric training while still in residency. However, this is nothing compared to the training one should have before practicing in an area with predominantly pediatric patients. Since many physicians do not see children regularly, it is difficult for them to know what they don’t know, unless they are given an opportunity – such as an advanced life support course focused on pediatric emergencies. Here are four reasons why every doctor should take this course.
Inadequate Preparation for Pediatric Emergencies
As a medical student, you receive minimal training on how to manage pediatric emergencies. In medical school, these emergencies are often presented in a simplified manner that is not representative of real-world cases. After all, children only make up a small portion of patients seen by most doctors, so it isn’t practical to teach students everything they need to know about pediatrics during their four years of medical school.
Unfortunately, the emergency department is where most pediatric emergencies occur and providers there receive little or no formal training on how to treat them. This leads to an inadequate level of preparation when dealing with new cases. To be adequately prepared for any pediatric emergency, physicians should take a course focused on pediatric advanced life support. To receive a certificate of completion, they must pass a difficult exam that is specifically designed for physicians practicing in an area with mostly children. Furthermore, the pediatric ACLS course gives you more practical experience than any amount of textbook reading can provide.
Difficulty Applying Adult Guidelines to Children
The treatment guidelines we receive during our pediatric advanced life support training are not meant to be applied verbatim to every case. While most patients receive the same basic treatment (from medications and CPR techniques to intubation and defibrillation), all patients should receive care specific to their individual needs. For example, the dosage for medication often varies depending on the patient’s weight, while some infants need only small doses of medicine, other children may require significantly larger amounts. In addition, children with congenital abnormalities require special consideration during treatment. This is why it’s so important for physicians to receive pediatric advanced life support training before treating children.
Difficulty Recognizing Subtle Symptoms in Children
Some pediatric emergencies are subtle and may be difficult to recognize. For example, respiratory depression requires precise diagnosis to determine the underlying cause. If doctors fail to recognize this subtle symptom during a child’s treatment, they may select the wrong course of action. Not only will this delayed treatment, but it could lead to serious consequences for the patient.
While there is no way to guarantee that these types of mistakes won’t be made (unless one has had specialized training), physicians should at least get proper training beforehand. When it comes to infants the situation is even more complicated. They can’t provide a history of what happened and their parents are usually just as helpless. This is why it’s so important for pediatricians to complete specialized training before treating children.
Upgrading One’s Practice
Many physicians view pediatric advanced life support training as an unnecessary burden; however, it can upgrade your current practice. These courses are not only designed for doctors in the emergency department (who see children regularly), but also for those who work with kids part-time. The material covered in these courses is presented using case studies that demonstrate how to deal with real-life emergencies.
Furthermore, this training provides medical professionals with more detailed guidelines on how to handle specific life-threatening conditions in children. This information helps doctors perform better in the field and treat patients with more confidence, regardless of whether they work in a busy emergency department or on a general medical floor because whatever the practice, there are still going to be kids involved at some point.
As you can see, pediatric advanced life support training is an important investment that can upgrade your practice and raise the standard of patient care. This type of course not only provides physicians with unique guidelines on how to treat children but also offers a practical experience through successful case studies. Although some people may prefer to rely on their judgment when it comes to specific cases, this should be reserved for advanced medical experts involved in rare and complex cases. Otherwise, it’s best to rely on the guidelines provided by pediatric advanced life support training.