Objectives: General emergency medicine physicians sometimes have to deal with acute management of pediatric emergencies. The objectives of this study were to assess the pediatric medical education background of emergency physicians, how often they encounter pediatric emergencies, as well as the knowledge and organizational gaps regarding the management of children in general emergency departments.
Methods: A survey was conducted from March 25 to June 25, 2017, by emailing an anonymized questionnaire to all senior emergency physicians of the 22 general emergency departments of western Normandy public hospitals.
Results: A total of 81 responses were analyzed. In all, 83% percent of respondents had previously worked in a pediatric department. In total, 90% of the respondents reported caring for children within their emergency department and 93% out-of-hospital (100% of them during primary interventions and 39% during secondary interventions such as inter-hospital transfers). Fourteen percent of the respondents considered that the pediatric medical education they received was adapted to their current practice, while 73% reported experiencing difficulties during management of pediatric emergencies (technical difficulties, unsuitable material and therapeutics, relational problems, personal apprehension, disease- or age-specific difficulties, especially with children under the age of 2-3 years).
Conclusion: Most general emergency physicians report caring for children despite a lack of medical education in pediatrics. Pediatric medical education as well as collaborations between general practitioners and specialized pediatric teams should be enhanced to better match the needs of general emergency departments and improve the quality of primary and acute care for children.
Keywords: Emergency medicine; Medical education; Pediatrics.
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