When Pediatric Internal Medicine Is The Best Answer

It is often difficult to understand what children may be suffering from when they’re unwell. This is especially true for infants and toddlers, who are unable to communicate their feelings and needs in a clear verbal manner. Typical signs and symptoms may be noted by their vigilant parents, but sometimes it isn’t a simple cold, flu or respiratory infection. In today’s world, there are an increasing number of infant and childhood diseases that go untreated because doctors misdiagnose them and treat the child for something else. Sometimes one tiny indication that is overlooked or not discovered may make the difference in such a critical matter. For this reason, it is important for parents to understand when to seek a professional opinion beyond that of a family doctor or pediatrician.

Internal medicine specialists, also called internists, who specialize in pediatrics are the best medical professionals to see when there are inconclusive or potentially wrong results discovered. It is always best for families to take their child to his or her regular pediatrician first, but sometimes this visit may not be enough. If illnesses or strange sets of symptoms persist for a longer period of time, it is important to seek the help of an internist. These professionals receive extensive postgraduate training medicine, anatomy, physiology and how multiple or strange disorders affect humans. Since the bodies and systems of children are different than adults, pediatric internists are able to pinpoint what may be the source of symptoms or persistent issues. Although multiple conditions and diseases are most commonly seen in adults, it is possible for babies and young children to experience them as well. Some rare disorders that are left untreated or are misdiagnosed may change the child’s life forever or possibly result in death. For these reasons, it is crucial to seek the help of an internist when conditions warrant it.

To find the best professional, gather a list of names of pediatric internal medicine specialists in the area – or those within driving distance. Before making any appointments and choosing one, always research each individual’s name. Some parents choose an older doctor, assuming their experience will ensure a correct diagnosis. Keep in mind that this is not always true. Consumer reviews are the most trustworthy way to gauge which one will be best. When consumers have an exceptionally good or bad experience, be assured they will write about it. Whichever specialist is chosen should have fare more positive than negative reviews. It is also a good idea for parents on a budget to see which ones are covered by their child’s health insurance plan.

Pediatric Nursing

Pediatric nursing, otherwise called child health nursing is an area of nursing and medical practice that has particular focus on the provision wholesome to infants, children and adolescents, working with and supporting parents as partners in the care giving process.

This is one of the richest nursing specialties in both scope and variety, since it combines elements of almost the whole of medicine, encompassing the areas of Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care, holistic approach in the care of disabled children, preventative services in the community, intensive treatment of children and generally focusing on the child and the family, working to minimize the adverse effect of disease from the pre-term infant to the difficult adolescent to allow the child to live a normal life.

Thus, in Pediatric nursing, the concept of multidisciplinary teams is well advanced in the provision of an integrated package of care for the child, working closely with other related medical specialties such as Obstetrics, Anesthetics, and Surgery as well as other professionals such as Physiotherapists, nurses and Speech Therapists, teachers and Social Workers.

The profession has among its major principles the concept of family centered care with a major function of supporting the family by providing care that the family cannot perform as well as educating families on how to maintain their normal caring activities.

Because the minds and bodies of infants, children and adolescents work in different ways from those of adults, the onset of symptoms can be sudden and extreme and because they are still growing, the impact of the illness or injury on their development has to be taken into account as they can be scared or confused by such development. Hence their need of nurses who are trained to understand and help them manage their particular needs and situations.

Because children have parents and siblings who are all involved in different ways in their care, pediatric nurses work closely with their patients’ families as part of the caring process. Hence, one of the most essential aspects of the profession is how regularly nurses share their skills and experiences with the patient’s parents and others who share in looking after the children with the objective of instilling in the latter the confidence and ability to perform their caring role and knowing when to proceed or suspend a given line of care.

The job of pediatric nurses are various and range from intensive care of newborn babies with breathing problems to taking care of an adolescent with a fracture limb. They can also be involved in managing distress arising from a mix of emotions that often surrounds child illness such as panic, anxiety, anger, powerlessness, and guilt in which cases they can play a key part in helping families manage through the crisis. Pediatric nurses work in different places including in a hospital pediatric ward or in a pediatric doctor’s office.

Pediatric Nurses in an Emergency Department can perform a whole lot of functions such as starting IVs, obtaining vital signs (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure), performing head to toe assessments, performing catheterizations to collect urine, collect stool samples, as well as basic eye exams. They can also administer medications (Intravenous, intramuscular, rectally, and by mouth), do a lot a parent and patient teaching, perform CPR, administer blood, help with splinting of broken bones, and a variety of other duties.

The basic tools used by pediatric nurses are their eyes, hands and ears. Assessment is very important in nursing so they use the stethoscope to listen to a child’s lungs, heart, and abdomen and use a blood pressure cuff (called a sphygmomanometer) to obtain their blood pressure and a thermometer to obtain their temperature. They also use cardiopulmonary (CP) monitors that keep track of the patient’s heart rate and respiratory rate as well as a Snellen chart to test their vision. Pediatric nurses use many other tools but these are the more common ones.

Pediatric nursing has evolved dramatically over the past two decades with the emergence of Specialties, closely allied to Academic Pediatrics. Community Child Health, with major focus on prevention and the broader issues of health within the whole childhood community which has become an important part of the responsibility of Pediatricians.

Although General Pediatrics remains the bedrock of the profession, there is a growing trend towards greater integration of the service, both between community and hospital and between secondary and specialist services. With the establishment of its own Royal College in 1996, Pediatrics finally came of age as a specialty on an equal pedestal with the other main specialties.

HOW TO BECOME A PEDIATRIC NURSE

One of the easiest ways to become a pediatric nurse is to seek employment in a hospital facility that serve pediatric patients where you can receive a specialized training there. Some hospitals offers a 3 – 6 month intern program for new nursing graduates. The program includes both classroom and clinical training in pediatrics.

After graduation, you can also sit the required exam to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse. There are also special classes that address Pediatrics. However, the important thing to note is that you must first become a nurse before you can commence your pediatric training in pediatrics.

Pediatric EMR

Why the need for a special Pediatric EMR module or program? The original EMR system was developed primarily for out-patient adult services. Since EMR is the wave of the future as deemed by the Federal Government, there became a necessity to include pediatric information.

The information previously lacking was:

  • Newborn Screening records
  • Immunization Records
  • Wellness Child Exams
  • Growth Records
  • Pediatric Narrative Templates
  • Pediatric Examination Templates (by age)
  • Pediatric SOAP Note Templates
  • Patient Pictures
  • Pediatric Image Management
  • Collection of Family Structure
    • Birth
    • Adoption
    • Step-Children
    • Child-Abuse
    • Foster Children
  • Genetic Information Collection
  • Newer Family Identification Methods, indexing the family together

Although every EMR system contains templates, the earlier versions did not include an easy way to accept the additional information relating to pediatric care. Physicians and caregivers simply did not have the time to design their own database structure and care for patients at the same time.
With the newer enhanced systems, Pediatric EMR has become a reality and “paper-less” offices are becoming a standard way of practice. From scanners to hospital networking, the physician can now retrieve 98% of a patient’s information:

  • Lab Tests and Results
  • Radiology Tests and Results
  • Cardiology Tests and Results
  • Dictated Reports

And much more…

How is all this possible? Hospitals and medical facilities are storing all this data. As they strive for a consistent Master Patient Index (MPI) repository, this data can be gathered from disparate systems and stored in a central location. Most facilities and medical systems are capable of sending HL7 (Health Level 7) messages. This is a real-time connection between systems that keeps data current across all applications and available immediately to be viewed by an authorized person.

So now, a pediatrician with a Pediatric EMR equipped solution, can have data fed to their “stand-alone” application at their local office. Although, this arrangement needs to be authorized by the medical facility, which brings up another issue – HIPPA!

Medical Billing services are now offering EMR as an add-on to the services they provide along with scheduling, billing, collection, and all the back-office services. Primarily physicians of a medium to large group can benefit from such a service.

There’s multiple solutions depending on the needs of the physician and the amount of staff to support the infrastructure. Favorably, this segment has grown in regards to the quantity of EMR vendors and their capabilities.

Soon will be the day when you walk into a doctor’s office and no longer see rows and rows of manila folders (charts). Instead, you will see them viewing Pediatric EMR information from a touch-screen computer in the patient room.

Signs of Hearing Problems in Toddlers and When to Visit a Pediatric Audiologist

Hearing is a critical tool for children as they learn, play, and develop. Some children are born with hearing impairments, while others may develop hearing loss over time. Unfortunately, even mild hearing loss can affect the way that a child speaks, hears, and understands language. Diagnosing a hearing problem in toddlers can be increasingly difficult, as they do not yet possess the skills to properly explain their symptoms. Here’s a look at some common signs of hearing loss in toddlers and when you should schedule a visit to a pediatric audiologist.

1. Does not respond to soft sounds

Toddlers with hearing loss may not respond when he hears soft sounds, such as a whisper or a low voice. When determining whether or not your child is hearing you or not, consider the environment. Is there excessive background noise or distractions? Also consider if your tot is “choosing” not to listen. Instead of asking whether or not your toddler can hear you, ask if he or she wants some ice cream.

2. Are they not startle when exposed to loud noises?

Most young kids will jump, cry, or in some way signify that they are startled when exposed to loud noises. If your toddler fails to react when a loud noise is present, it may be because he or she is unable to hear the noise or the noise is not as loud to him or her due to the hearing loss.

3. Cannot locate the source of sounds

Children usually have the natural ability to use their hearing to turn towards the source of a noise. If your tot hears a sound, he or she should turn their head in the general direction of that sound within seconds. If your toddler acts as if he or she didn’t hear the sound or looks around aimlessly, ensure of where the noise originated, some level of hearing loss may be present.

4. Only responds when facing you

Most toddlers have some communication skills, even if it’s a simple “yes” or “no,” or even a nod of the head up or down. Children with hearing loss may not respond to you when you speak unless he or she if facing towards you. You may also notice that your tot carefully watches the faces of people when speaking.

5. Displays symptoms of other health issues

If the hearing loss is caused by a cold, flu, sinus infection, or other health condition, other symptoms may point to hearing loss. Take note if your child pulls at his or her ears, presents with cold symptoms, suffers from chronic ear infections, or is unusually cranky.

If your toddler shows signs of hearing problems, it’s important to promptly schedule a visit with a pediatric audiologist for a full evaluation. A pediatric audiologist will run tests to determine whether or not your child is indeed experiencing hearing loss, and if so, to what degree. With a proper diagnosis, a treatment plan can then be created.