As part of previous work as an intern at the World Health Organization, I was involved with a group looking to improve pediatric emergency care education across Africa. We created the objectives and materials for a new curriculum to train providers working in Africa in pediatric emergency medicine (PEM). The curriculum was pilot tested in Tanzania in March 2019 with a group of emergency care nurses. An improvement in knowledge and confidence in dealing with pediatric emergencies was demonstrated as a result of this new curriculum. I will be going to Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to conduct a refresher training and continue testing to determine how best to educate the emergency nurses on care of pediatric emergencies going forward. I will also be helping to train a group of 'trainer' nurses so that the curriculum can become self-sustainable and these trainers can continue educating on pediatric emergencies throughout the year. I will also be assisting with the implementation of a toolkit of emergency care resources in the MNH emergency department. This will include training providers on how to use standardized forms and protocols in order to improve overall emergency care for all patients in the department.
This project will benefit a large pediatric population that accesses emergency care not only in Dar es Salaam but across Tanzania and Africa by training the nurses that will provide their care in the emergency department. This is the final step in solidifying a curriculum for pediatric emergency care for nurses which can then be adapted and taught across many settings on the African continent. This population is important because pediatric patients make up a disproportionately large number of those who seek emergency care across Africa, where population pyramids are largely representative of younger populations. Due to a lack of specialty trained physicians, a large part of emergency care is executed by nurses working in conjunction with doctors, and thus training these individuals is vital to the success of improving pediatric emergency care across the continent. Additionally, the use of standardized forms and protocols can make care more uniform across all patients and assist in meeting standards set forth by the hospital and other governing bodies.
I expect that through this trip we will be able to solidify a well-researched pediatric emergency curriculum for nurses in Tanzania and, in the near future, across the African continent. By training a group of trainer nurses, we will allow for ongoing education and implementation of this curriculum with a sustainable impact in Dar es Salaam. Additionally, lessons learned from this refresher and leadership training can be carried forward when rolling out the curriculum in new countries. I will personally carry forward lessons learned as I begin a pediatric emergency medicine fellowship this coming year and continue working on projects to improve pediatric emergency care systems across low and middle income countries.
I helped to teach a pediatric emergency medicine curriculum to a group of 9 emergency care nurses who were immediately able to use their knowledge in practice with patients. Many of these nurses were eager to share their knowledge with colleagues and are hopeful to continue teaching these skills to both new and experienced staff. We were able to practice many skills together in real time with pediatric resuscitations that presented to the emergency department. Soon, we will publish a study regarding knowledge retention related to this curriculum.
Additionally, I assisted in teaching some pediatrics curriculum to emergency medicine residents at MNH, and we were able to form ongoing partnerships to improve pediatric care. We were also able to preview the new pediatric area of the emergency department that is now open for patients!