Emma W: The importance of Safeguarding

Emma Wolton

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Child Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

6 February 2014

So, this month in my life as a children’s nurse I have found myself taking part in some extra-curricular, subject-related activities! On 29 January I attended Dr Joyce Forge’s presentation of her PhD thesis, which focused on the importance of A&E record-keeping in order to safeguard children.

Whilst one might not initially think of this as the most thrilling of topics, I found that it was actually quite interesting. The lecture was extremely relevant for me as a children’s nurse because hopefully I will have an A&E placement next year, and also because accurate record-keeping is something that I am going to have to do throughout my career, wherever I may be.

Joyce Forge
In her presentation Joyce talked through why it is important to complete all the information in a child’s paperwork, rather than just the parts that seemed most significant to their immediate health complaint. I know that when I come to work on the wards full-time, the time available to spend with patients will often be tight, but what really struck me from the lecture is how important these little pieces of information can be, in ensuring no child with a cause for concern slips between the cracks.

We’ve all heard about terrible cases of abuse in the headlines and no nurse wants to be the person who misses the signs; filling in documentation properly is a huge responsibility that we must take on. However, Joyce’s study found that out of 73 children who had had a cause for concern identified, 47 were picked up by the paediatric liaison health visitor after they had left the A&E department. This means these 47 were not spotted by A&E staff.

Another thing that I learnt from the presentation is the importance of the paediatric liaison health visitor in catching these cases. Their job is to act as the link between hospitals and either health visitors (for 0-5 year olds) or school nurses (5 years +), reviewing all the discharge paperwork, and referring children with causes for concern onto the relevant areas. To me this seems like a vital role in safeguarding children and as such has been recommended in Government reports. However, despite these recommendations, there is not a nationwide policy for this role to be put in place and so this job does not exist in all hospitals.

I think that these lectures and extra-curricular activities are really useful for me as a student. Going along to them helps me to discover the areas that I am passionate about, proves helpful for forming a dissertation topic and, who knows, may even lead me to my perfect job. Fingers very tightly crossed, it may also help me to stand out from other candidates when interview time comes around.

Following my own advice, I’m hopefully going to a child and family health conference next month which will be really interesting!
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