Two-and-a-half years after the partnership launched, the affiliation between Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) and Wolfson Children’s Hospital continues to grow as it enters its next phase with the establishment of the Tallahassee Memorial Children’s Emergency Center, located on the second floor of the Tallahassee Memorial Emergency Center - Northeast. Since opening in 2013, the Emergency Center – Northeast, located at Thomasville Road and I-10, has grown to care for more than 4,000 pediatric patients annually.
“With a dedicated children’s entrance and waiting area with an iPad bar, the Emergency Center – Northeast was already more kid-friendly than many ERs,” shared Mark O’Bryant, President & CEO of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “By teaming up with Wolfson Children’s Hospital, we have expanded the pediatric training of our clinical team, added new child-approved design elements and incorporated telemedicine with the medical team in Jacksonville.”
Telemedicine, the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical healthcare from a distance, is a valuable tool for the board-certified emergency medicine physicians at TMH to collaborate with the board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians at Wolfson Children’s, 24/7. This technology helps both organizations provide world-class patient care close to home in a modern, convenient and safe way. Unlike Skype or other communication platforms, telemedicine applications are HIPAA-compliant to protect patient privacy.
“Children of all ages really benefit when we all work together as a team,” said Michael Aubin, President of Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “With the launch of this new Children’s Emergency Center, we are combining the exceptional pediatric care TMH already provides with the implementation of pediatric protocols available at Wolfson Children’s Hospital to further enhance these services. Bringing our clinical and technological strengths together also means a better patient and family experience.”
In addition to the utilization of telemedicine and the new kid-friendly design of the rooms, the nursing staff at the new Tallahassee Memorial Children’s Emergency Center plays a critical role in the specialized emergency care offered to pediatric patients. While it has always been a requirement for nurses at the Emergency Center - Northeast to keep a current Pediatric Advanced Lift Support (PALS) and/or Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course (ENPC) certification – with this new children’s emergency center comes the need for further specialization and education.
“At the Emergency Center – Northeast, we already required our clinical team to have general pediatric training,” explained Kyrie Stewart, DNP, Director of Operations, Tallahassee Memorial Emergency Center – Northeast. “With the additional specialty training and ongoing continuing education opportunities available through Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the children in our community now have a dedicated team to meet their emergent healthcare needs.”
With this new partnership, nurses are now required to go through a Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), S.T.A.B.L.E classes - a neonatal education program to focus exclusively on the post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabilization care of sick infants - and continued education with the Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course (ENPC). Additionally, nurses with little or no pediatric experience are required to spend time in the Tallahassee Memorial Children’s Center in the main hospital to learn more from the highly-skilled pediatric nursing team. The Children’s Emergency Center team will also have its own Certified Child Life Specialist – a specialist who helps children and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute illness, injury or trauma.
Board-certified emergency medicine physicians, and other emergency-trained caregivers who provide care at the Tallahassee Memorial Emergency Center – Northeast, are collaborating with Wolfson Children’s Hospital to implement evidence-based pediatric protocols in emergency care, pediatric pharmacological dosage and pediatric radiology.
In addition, the two not-for-profit healthcare providers will host quarterly continuing education opportunities for local physicians, nurses and others to update them on advances in pediatric emergency care. As part of the partnership, pediatric critical care specialists on the Kids Kare Mobile ICU team and Wolfson Children’s pediatric trauma and emergency care providers will also offer training opportunities.