Ambulance nurses experiences of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difficult aspect of ambulance nursing care

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    Article history:Received 30 January 2013Received in revised form 15 April 2013

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    for an effective emergency medical service is a unique level of teamcollaboration (Ahl et al., 2005). According to Jewkes (2001) about10% of all pre-hospital emergency alarms involve children, 5% ofwhich represent a real need of urgent help. Pre-hospital emergencycare for children is rare, but when a child falls acutely ill or is

    differ regardingthat they have to001). Ambult patient

    therefore, reconsider what is normal and abnormal in thechildren. Management guidelines and equipment designadults are not suitable for children. In addition to coping with dif-ference in size, training is needed in managing the equipment astechniques used in treating a child can sometimes differ (Atheyet al., 1997).

    A sick or injured child elicits many emotions within the familyincluding fear and guilt (Athey et al., 1997). According to Bentley(2005) and Roden (2005) parents want to be involved in the careof their seriously ill child to gain a sense of participation and

    Corresponding author. Address: Department of Health Science, Lule Universityof Technology, SE-971 87 Lule, Sweden. Tel.: +46 920 49 38 75; fax: +46 920 49 3850.

    International Emergency Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxx

    Contents lists available at

    International Eme

    .eE-mail address: (. Engstrm).the ambulance nurse has to establish immediate trust in the rela-tionship with the patient (Bruce et al., 2003b). Working as anambulance nurse means nursing patients of different ages suffer-ing from a variety of diseases or traumas. One of the prerequisites

    occur (Bruce et al., 2003a). Children and adultsanatomy, physiology and psychology, meaningbe treated differently (Gaffney and Johnson, 2nurses who are primarily trained in the care of ad1755-599X/$ - see front matter 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Please cite this article in press as: Nordn, C., et al. Ambulance nurses experiences of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difcult asambulance nursing care. Int. Emerg. Nurs. (2013), must,case ofed forIntroduction

    The work of an ambulance nurse requires high levels of knowl-edge and skill in order to be able to care for patients outside thehospital. Ambulance nurses have to meet and identify each indi-vidual patients care needs in a variety of environments (Holmbergand Fagerberg, 2010). To carry out treatment and to take action,

    injured rapid and effective response is required. Effective pre-hos-pital emergency care can reduce the number of deaths in children(Jewkes, 2001).

    All ambulance emergencies involving children require specicknowledge because children of all ages have special needs. Ambu-lance nurses must have good knowledge of, and ability to antici-pate, possible scenarios and situations that do not necessarilyAccepted 16 April 2013Available online xxxx

    Keywords:Pre-hospital careParamedicAmbulance nurseChildNursingQualitative content analysisBackground: Ambulance nurses work daily in both emergency and non-emergency situations that can bedemanding. One emotionally demanding situation for ambulance nurses is to nurse children who are ill.Aim: The aim of this study was to describe ambulance nurses experiences of nursing critically ill orinjured children.Method: Eight specialist ambulance nurses were interviewed and the interviews were analyzed usingqualitative content analysis.Findings: The analysis resulted in one theme, a difcult aspect of ambulance nursing care, with ve cat-egories. The security of both child and parents was considered to be paramount. Ambulance nurses feltrelieved when they handed over the responsibility and the child to the receiving unit. The ambulancenurses felt that more training, education and follow-up was desirable in order to increase their securitywhen nursing children.Conclusion: Ambulance nurses are subject to stressful feelings while nursing children. As providing reas-surance to the child and its parents is a cornerstone of the treatment, it is important for the ambulancenurses to take the time to build up a trusting relationship in such an encounter. Skill development in thearea might lead to increased security and reduce the mental burden resulting from negative stress.

    2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Ambulance nurses experiences of nursinchildren: A difcult aspect of ambulance

    Charlotte Nordn RN, MSc, (Ambulance Nurse) a, Kasa Engstrm RN, CCN, MSc, PhD, (Associate Professa Falck Ambulans AB, Hssleholm, Swedenb Jokkmokk Ambulace, Jokkmokk, SwedencDivision of Nursing, Department of Health Care Science, Lule University of Technology

    journal homepage: wwwcritically ill and injuredursing care

    Hult RN, MSc, (Ambulance Nurse) b,) c,

    le, Sweden

    SciVerse ScienceDirect

    rgency Nursing

    l sevier .com/locate /aaenpect of

  • Assurances were given that all data would remain condential,that participation was voluntary and that the participants hadthe right to withdraw at any time without prejudice.


    The theme and categories (Table 2) are presented in the text be-low and are illustrated with quotations from the interview text.

    A difcult aspect of ambulance nursing care

    Emergencies involving children create stress and strong feelings

    Participants described how when they got a call about an illchild they experienced special feelings, such as something like anadrenaline rush. All participants felt stress. A cardiac arrest alarmor an emergency where a child had got something stuck in the tra-chea were considered difcult, while cases involving a small child

    Describe your experiences of reporting and leaving the sick child at the

    Follow-up questions; Explain/describe/develop this more. What do you

    ergeunderstanding and for communication about the child to be openand honest (Roden, 2005). Noyes (1999) describes how parentsof acutely ill children put their own needs in second place, and to-tally focus on the child and their condition. Most parents think thattheir responsibility is to protect their child by being involved in thecare (Bentley, 2005).

    Forsner (2006) describes the fear that ill children experience be-cause they are afraid that the treatment will hurt, that they will getinjured by the examination or treatment, or that their feelings areignored and they are subject to compulsion. Trust in other peoplemay be adversely affected if the child becomes afraid when theyrequire care. According to Athey et al. (1997) childrens reactionsto illness are affected by age; the younger the child, the morestressed it is likely to become in painful situations. Another aspectis the childs fear of the unknown. Bruce et al. (2003a) show thatwhen communication difculties with young children occur it isessential that the ambulance nurse cooperate with the child andthe parents to create a feeling of safety. This means that the nursemust adapt the care to the childs needs and tell both the child andthe parents what is about to happen. According to Houston andPearson (2010) pre-hospital care of children is a great challenge.As children are so rarely in the pre-hospital emergency care thenursing of them will never be a matter of routine.


    The aim of this study was to describe ambulance nurses expe-riences of nursing critically ill or injured children.


    This study has a qualitative research approach based on semi-structured interviews. Qualitative research aims to develop a richholistic understanding of the phenomenon being studied (Politand Beck, 2012).


    The heads of one ambulance station in southern Sweden andone in northern Sweden, gave permission for the authors to handout information letters to those ambulance nurses working in theirstations who met the inclusion criteria for participation in thestudy. In total eight ambulance nurses who met the inclusion cri-teria were informed about the study and asked to participate, alleight were interested in participating and answered the letter bysigning a consent form. The rst and second authors then con-tacted them by telephone and made appointments for the inter-views in accordance with the participants wishes.


    Eight trained ambulance nurses, three men and ve womenaged 3048 years (md = 36) participated in the study. The inclu-sion criteria were: to be specialist ambulance nurses, with at least2 years experience of pre hospital emergency care of critically illand/or injured children aged up to15 years. The participants expe-rience of pre-hospital emergency nursing care ranged from 3 to9 years (md = 5) and their prehospital experience of nursing criti-cally ill and injured children ranged from approximately 8 to 100children/year (md = 36/year).

    Data collection

    2 C. Nordn et al. / International EmData were collected by means of individual semi-structuredinterviews. The rst and second authors each interviewed four

    Please cite this article in press as: Nordn, C., et al. Ambulance nurses expeambulance nursing care. Int. Emerg. Nurs. (2013), and used an interview guide with open-ended ques-tions that met the studys aim (Table 1). Each interview was re-corded using a MP3 player; these les were kept secure so thatonly the authors had access to the data. The interviews were tran-scribed verbatim by the author who conducted the interview.

    Data analysis

    The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysisaccording to Downe-Wamboldt (1992). Each interview text wasread through several times in order to gain a sense of the contentas a whole. The entire text for all eight interviews was then read inorder to identify meaning units, guided by the aim of the study.The meaning units were condensed and sorted into categories re-lated by content, constituting an expression of the manifest con-tent of the text. All ve nal categories were then compared anda theme, i.e. threads of meaning that appeared in all categorieswas identied (Graneheim and Lundman, 2004).

    Ethical considerations

    The University Ethics Committee approved the study and theunit managers in the two ambulance stations gave their permis-sion for it to be carried out. Information about the study was re-peated orally to the participants prior to starting the interviews.

    mean? How does it feel?emergency department.Describe your experiences of follow-up and reect after nursing a critically ill

    child.Describe your experiences of your education about nursing critically ill

    children within ambulance care.Table 1Interview guide used in the study aimed at describing the experiences of ambulancenurses in nursing critically ill or injured children.

    Please:Describe your feelings when you receive a call about a critically ill or injured

    child.Describe how you prepare yourself on your way to the child.Describe your experiences of nursing critically ill or injured children within

    ambulance care.Describe your experiences of the weaknesses and strengths of different

    methods for nursing critically ill children within ambulance care.

    ncy Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxxwith febrile seizures or croup, for example, was considered man-ageable. Participants perceived that it took a long time to reachthe child when what they wanted was to get there quickly. Serious

    riences of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difcult aspect ofenj.2013.04.003

  • ergealarms involving children were fortunately rare, but at the sametime the low frequency created uncertainty among theparticipants.

    Yes thats one of the worst things you can get, an alarm with achild, when children are involved its always difcult. . .

    The stress escalated when confronting a critically ill child andthe participants said that they became more focused and had afeeling that nothing was permitted to go wrong. The participantsexperienced frustration in situations where they had been unableto help a child or if a child had received wrong treatment. Nursinga critically ill or injured child was described as one of the most dif-cult situations participants might face, and this feeling increasedwith the seriousness of the childs condition.

    Then you get performance anxiety, because you really want to dowell, if there is any time you want to do everything absolutely right,its when you have a small child . . . Because they are just at thebeginning of their life.

    When nursing a child the participants felt a sense of inadequacyas they had at least two people, the child and a parent, to nurture.Participants who had children of their own related to their feelingsas a parent. The parents concerns and the rest of the crews con-cerns contributed to the stress on the participants. The participantsstated that on these occasions they would liked to have a quiet careenvironment and they therefore moved quickly into the ambulanceto maintain the calm and be able to focus on the child.

    And there is a mom next to the child and she is really sad and I donot really know what to do for her, and I have to try to be sufcientfor them both.

    Participants assessed what it was really necessary to treat andmostly treated only the childs most acute symptoms. They de-scribed the stress of failing, for instance, to insert a peripheral veincannula in a child.

    Im always stressed in one way or another, but it is a very uncom-fortable situation because its a child and its hard because their

    Table 2Overview of theme (n = 1) and categories (n = 5).

    Theme Category

    A difcult aspect ofambulance nursing care

    Emergencies involving children create stressand strong feelingsNeeding to feel personally secure in thesituationChildren and parents need securityFeeling relieved to hand over the childRecognize the needs for education andfollow up

    C. Nordn et al. / International Emanatomy is different, their physiology, they breathe differently, theybehave differently, they have large heads and small bodies . . .Damn, its stressful at times, its really tough.

    Most of the participants prioritized getting help quickly and de-scribed a desire to get to the hospital as fast as possible but safely.This could be difcult when the child was transported in the par-ents lap. Another difculty was carrying a larger and older child,the child him or herself could lie on the stretcher, but the parenthad to sit in the seat next to the stretcher. This meant that it wasdifcult for participants to gain access to the child. A desire formore secure protection during transport for the child and a betterpassenger seat for the parent was expressed by participants. After-wards participants could dwell on the situations involving care ofchildren.

    The childs safety was considered to be paramount and the par-ticachThicabewa

    Please cite this article in press as: Nordn, C., et al. Ambulance nurses experienambulance nursing care. Int. Emerg. Nurs. (2013), felt that a calm and cautious attitude was important inieving it. The younger the child the more important this was.e participants said that they often used themselves as pedagog-Its the only alarm you cannot forget, otherwise I think some alarmsare okay, that lump in your stomach disappears after a while, but itdoesnt with children, at least not for me.

    Needing to feel personally secure in the situation

    Participants felt that they wanted to be better prepared foralarms involving children. They described how they prepared onthe way out by repeating childrens normal values and, based onsymptoms, going through treatment guidelines and drug dosages.Participants felt that the alarm was often worse than the actual sit-uation which was described as relief.

    You never know what you will meet, but with the kids I do thinkthat I prepare more thoroughly than for an adult. An adult canalways be treated according to the symptoms, because its usualwhat you expect, but a child, you have to be prepared for moreand you prepare more. I do, anyway.

    Participants felt that the ambulance was their place of safetywhich meant that they strove to get there quickly. If they couldget help from parents who were knowledgeable about the childscurrent status, it further increased their feeling of security.

    . . .and then there was the mother who was caring for the girl fulltime she was there and sat with us in the back of the ambulanceto help with the ventilator and things like that so I felt secure withit.

    However, the participants did not want the parent to sit close tothe child in the ambulance, when the child was very seriously ill orinjured and they wanted to work undisturbed and methodically.

    Sometimes you get a sense that you cannot reach the kid . . .because he or she lies on the stretcher, mother sitting next to himor her and then I sit at the head end. I really have no place to be. . . you are unable to investigate, check things.

    The participants thought that the technical equipment had be-come better adapted over the years, which they believed increasedtheir own security. Some participants, however, described feelinguncertainty in relation to children and the equipment when theythought it was disorganized, poorly designed and unreliable. Thismeant that they abandoned the technical equipment and reliedon their clinical gaze to facilitate care.

    I feel that the equipment that we have today is substantially betterthan we had in the beginning. Then we had an adult probe for thesaturation measurement and we tried to coax it on one way oranother and hoped that the error in the value would not be toobig. Today we have stuff we can use.

    Participants felt, because of the feelings aroused when nursing achild, that they wanted to have someone to share their thoughtsand feelings with, and increasingly used support from colleaguesand physicians. They also felt more secure when there were twoambulance nurses working in the ambulance providing access togreater medical and nursing skill. Having a physician in the ambu-lance when nursing a critically ill child made them feel secure.

    Children and parents need security

    ncy Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxx 3l tools; they used their personality, their body language andhavior when communicating with the child. They felt that its important to nd a balance between telling the child and

    ces of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difcult aspect of2013.04.003

  • The participants thought that immobilization reduced the feel-

    Participants described feeling relieved when they got to the

    ambulance nurses competence and experience. This means thatacquired experience provides basic security and thereby reducingtheexp

    ergehospital and handed over the responsibility for the childs care tosomeone else. The participants said that when they warned thehospital reception about the childs arrival it usually worked welland the handing over of children in the emergency room and thecooperation generally worked smoothly. They said that the staffin the receiving unit felt more focused when receiving children.Participants felt that the staff spoke less often over the heads ofchildren compared to adults. A child had higher priority than anadult when arriving at hospital and participants felt that every-ings of safety in children when they were afraid and did not wantto lie still. The child might be afraid of the ambulance nurse be-cause he or she was a stranger. One participant said that childrencould experience the ambulance clothes and environment as bothscary and exciting. When children were stressed participants feltthat the situation and the childs own status deteriorated. They alsofelt that the greatest source of security for the children was theirparents and argued that the parent should always accompanythe child in the ambulance, as calm and secure parents facilitatednursing care. A condent parent was considered a resource in com-municating with the child. One participant said that a teddy couldhelp build up trust in the child.

    The participants described how the parents were often insecureand scared when the child was acutely ill and the worse the childwas the stronger these feelings were. Participants felt that the par-ents transferred their stress to the child which could adversely af-fect the childs status. A calm attitude and informing them aboutthe childs status was a way of providing reassurance for the par-ents. Another way was to allow them to be involved in care andprovide them with tasks to focus on so that they felt needed.

    Its different with different parents, some may be very quiet, butsome are really stressed. You may perhaps remind parents thattheir concerns rub off on the child, you might have to give thema task so that they can help a little instead, then they have some-thing else to focus on and they feel that they are needed.

    The participants said that they felt satised with the care whenthey managed to create security for the child and parent, and whenthey gained the childs trust so that it accepted the necessarytreatment.

    Feeling relieved to hand over the childmaking them part of the care. To achieve this, participants had toadjust the level of information in line with the childs developmentand age; but despite that small children did not always understandthe purpose of the treatment. The childs age, physical and psycho-logical maturity was deemed signicant for how much he or sheunderstood of what was explained.

    I never force myself onto children, because children need security,you may feel a lot with children. Can they handle it if I get close?

    Now we have to put in a needle that of course sounds reallystrange. . . To put an oxygen mask over their mouth might seemto be illogical, it should be easier for them to breathe but it maynot be if they have that plastic thing over their mouth and nose.Theres so much stuff that they need to understand and that hasto be explained. An adult can easily understand that this is good,it helps me.

    4 C. Nordn et al. / International Emthing possible was always done for the critically ill children andthat, for instance, to save their lives resuscitation attempts lastedlonger, compared to old adults.


    Please cite this article in press as: Nordn, C., et al. Ambulance nurses experienambulance nursing care. Int. Emerg. Nurs. (2013), for preparation. Suserud and Haljame (1997) show thaterience is the most important factor in achieving security; anThus, it is often a relief to see this little man settled inside the hos-pital and they have, like, made it there, youre really happy.

    Recognize the need for education and follow up

    Participants felt that they had inadequate training in emergencycare for children and it felt strange and frustrating not to receivefurther training in the subject. They expressed a desire for moreeducation concerning children e.g. emergency care, trauma care,pediatrics and how to handle equipment suitable for children. Par-ticipants said that learning more about nursing care of childrencould also be archived by visiting children wards and learning fromthe nurses working there. Another proposal for improving mutualunderstanding was education given by pediatricians.

    I would have felt safer. . . I think absolutely, and I think most peoplethink this is important in our work; we can never have too mucheducation.

    Participants were interested in following up after nursing achild to ensure that they had acted lawfully at the time, but thiswas limited by privacy rules and organizational factors.


    The result shows that emergencies involving children provokedfeelings of stress. According to Svensson and Fridlund (2008)ambulance nurses develop internal stress when they are exposedto situations they are unaccustomed to. For paramedics the situa-tions that induce worst anxiety are those involving children, par-ticularly the seriously ill ones (Alexander and Klein, 2001).Participants described feeling a sense of injustice based on theirperception of children as being in the beginning of their lives.According to Lipton and Everly (2002) paramedics experience feel-ings of inadequacy when nursing children as they consider them tobe innocent and with their entire lives ahead of them. Participantswere afraid to make mistakes when caring for children. Jonssonand Segesten (2004a) show that ambulance nurses feel guilt whenthey fail to help the patient. They also feel pressured to do theirabsolute utmost when caring for children and this creates stress(Gunnarsson and Stromberg, 2009).

    Jonsson and Segesten (2004b) claim that emotionally exhaustedambulance nurses are more stressed and are therefore less proneto give the patient optimal cares and more likely to show symp-toms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Bruce et al. (2003b) statethat the nurses must familiarize themselves and understand thepatients suffering to the extent that allows them to meet the pa-tients need for care.

    According to Swor et al. (2005) children in prehospital care of-ten receive little or no treatment at all before arriving at the hospi-tal, which seems to be consistent with the ndings in this studyand might pose a risk for the child. Participants in this study wouldlike to be more prepared when facing an alarm involving a child.Jonsson and Segesten (2004a) describe preparation as an internaldialog which helps to increase awareness. The dialog is a way ofhandling the insecurity by mentally preparing for what will comeas well as drawing on previous knowledge and experience. Bruceet al. (2003a) claim that the need of preparation is based on the

    ncy Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxxerienced nurse tends to work longer at the scene of the incidentile the more inexperienced tend to move to the ambulancere quickly to their security, in order to start the transport.

    ces of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difcult aspect of2013.04.003

  • regarding care for children, which can lead to loss of pain relief

    could help the nurses to develop their knowledge. This is con-

    ergeThe desire to have someone to share ones feelings with whencaring for a child was revealed among the participants. Accordingto Suserud (2002) ambulance nurses experience of support fromcolleagues during major accidents is important, especially fromtheir closest colleagues, and a trusting relationship contributes tofeelings of security. Svensson and Fridlund (2008) suggest thatthe anxiety subsides when ambulance staff work with more expe-rienced colleagues as they then feel secure and can discuss prob-lems together. Jonsson and Segesten (2004a) show that supportcan be found in an interlocutor who is present and a good listener.The absence of this support can provoke post-traumatic stressdisorder.

    In this study the childs safety was considered paramount forthe interaction and the information level was based on the childscognitive development. According to Gimbler-Berglund et al.(2008) the nurse must take the time to establish a relationshipand collaborate with the child. This is conrmed by Bjrk et al.(2006); children should be treated empathetically and the care-giver should speak directly to the child. The information levelshould be adjusted to the childs age as to make it comprehensiblefor the child (Plkki et al., 2001).

    The participants described difculties in informing childrenabout certain treatments, conrming ndings by Forsner et al.(2005) that children easily misunderstand information so thatsomething becomes frightening rather than reassuring. Accordingto Coyne (2005) children need to be involved in decisions relatingto their care in order to feel secure and Schmidt et al. (2007) statethat nurses can reduce childrens fear by explaining their role.

    The parents were considered to be the greatest source of secu-rity for the children and participants argued in favor of the parentsaccompanying them. Pelander et al. (2007) and Pelander and Lei-no-Kilpi (2004) conrmed that the parents presence contributesto the childs feeling of safety as well as making treatments moreeasily accepted. Gimbler-Berglund et al. (2008) emphasize that itis the parents who have the greatest knowledge about the child.However, the participants in this study considered that this wasonly possible if the parent was calm as an insecure parent trans-ferred anxiety to the child. Participants believed it was importantto also create a safe environment for the parents. Nugent et al.(2007) state that parents can develop negative stress when theirchild becomes acutely ill. Hopia et al. (2005) emphasize the impor-tance of creating a sense of security for the parents when thechilds health is impaired by keeping the parents informed andinvolving them in the care. According to Aldridge (2005) parentswant what is the best for their child, and often wish to be closeand involved in the care. Participants in this study believed thata calm approach, and information regarding the treatments andthe status of the child increased the parents level of security. Ald-ridge (2005) claims that parents need truthful information in orderto feel safe and involved. Information should be given in easy, com-prehensive language easy to understand in order to reduce the pos-sibilities of misinterpretations. Power and Franck (2008) state thatit is valuable to offer the parents the chance to participate in thecare of their child.

    Participants in this study said that the handover usually workedwell especially if the receiving staff were informed about the arri-val of the child. According to Bruce and Suserud (2003) good team-work is a requirement between the ambulance nurses and the staffin the receiving unit. This allows the patient and their relatives thepossibility to see the care chain functions and that the staff is therefor them. Owen et al. (2009) show that ambulance nurses experi-ence frustration when the receiving nurse is more occupied withthe patient than with listening to the report. According to Thakore

    C. Nordn et al. / International Emand Morrison (2001), as well as Talbott and Bleetman (2007), thereceiving nurses often make their own assessment of the patientinstead of paying attention to the report given by the paramedics.

    Please cite this article in press as: Nordn, C., et al. Ambulance nurses expeambulance nursing care. Int. Emerg. Nurs. (2013), by Sadosty et al. (2004), who values monitoring patientsas an important part for personal development. Harrahill and Gun-nels (1999) explain that follow up should be easily accessible andoccur close to the actual time of caring to be of use in awareness-raising. The participants in this study also made this request.

    Methodological considerations

    This study has limitations; for example eight ambulance nurseswere interviewed, which is a rather small group. The interviewswere rich in content and described similar experiences, which cre-ated a pattern that we found adequate to serve as a basis for thendings. The interviews were conducted in different places; therst author interviewed four ambulance nurses in southern Swe-den and the second author four ambulance nurses in northernSweden. Comparison of the interview material from the two loca-tions showed that experiences among the participants are similarreinforcing the views that nursing acutely ill children gives riseto shared experiences. The validity of this study has been ensuredby reviewing the analysis in a seminar setting and by continualsupervision by third author who has wide experience of this kindof research.


    The theme of this study is a difcult aspect of ambulance nurs-ing care. It describes ambulance nurses experiences of nursingacutely ill and injured children. Emergency care of children createsuncertainty, stress and insecurity among ambulance nurses, and itseems to be based on limited experience and knowledge concern-ing the care of acutely ill and injured children. This limitationmakes it difcult for ambulance nurses to encounter the childrenand their families in a quiet and secure manner. Throughout thissince the paramedics may have difculties establishing vein access.Choen et al. (2008) believe it is necessary to be able to treat acutepain in children as untreated pain may cause to long-term adversenegative effects. Suserud (2005) states that all patients have theright to be treated by competent personnel regardless of wherethey are treated. The Social Board decided in 2005 that all Swedishambulances should be staffed with at least one registered nurse forskill enhancement purposes. There is a 1-year postgraduate coursewithin prehospital emergency care aimed at further increasing thecompetence further in this eld (Suserud, 2005). The participantsin this study all had followed this postgraduate education and,while they thought it was very good, they still wanted more edu-cation about critically ill children.

    The participants described it as difcult to follow up the chil-dren they had cared for due to rules of condentiality. Accordingto Harrahill and Gunnels (1999) ambulance nurses never becomecompletely fully trained, therefore following up their patientsTalbott and Bleetman (2007) explain that if the receiving staff arestressed important information passed on by the paramedics getslost.

    Participants thought that knowledge and education regardingchildren was inadequate. Poljak et al. (2006) show that ambulancenurses need more knowledge and education in the care of children.Gentil et al. (2008) claim that knowledge as well as scenario train-ing is needed in order for ambulance nurses to be able to makequick and correct decisions during stressful situations. Accordingto Jewkes (2006) paramedics have too little training and routine

    ncy Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxx 5study security has been described as the most important founda-tion for care for both the child and the parents, and ambulancenurses want more preparation and training in the subject. Skills

    riences of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difcult aspect ofenj.2013.04.003

  • can be developed by increasing the acquisition of knowledgethrough hospital training in emergency care for children, regularscenario training, lectures by experts in the eld and ambulancenurses own studies. There is a desire that more practical and the-ory training in the care of the acutely ill or injured child should beincluded in the specialized education needed to become an ambu-

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    Harrahill, M., Gunnels, D., 1999. Trauma notebook. Providing follow-up toprehospital care providers. Journal of Emergency Nursing 25, 244245.

    Holmberg, M., Fagerberg, I., 2010. The encounter with the unknown: nurses livedexperiences of their responsibility for the care of the patient in the Swedish

    6 C. Nordn et al. / International Emergency Nursing xxx (2013) xxxxxxHealth Care 9, 153165.Gaffney, P., Johnson, G., 2001. Paediatric prehospital care: postal survey of

    paramedic training managers. Archives of Disease in Childhood 84, 8283.Gentil, R.C., Ramos, L.H., Whitaker, I.Y., 2008. Nurses training in prehospital care.

    Revista Latino-Americana de Enfermagem 16, 192197.Gimbler-Berglund, I., Ljusegren, G., Enskr, K., 2008. Factors inuencing pain

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    research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness.Nurse Education Today 24, 105112.lance nurse. This is supported by studies showing that, for instance,increased simulation training in this eld is important (Eppichet al., 2006, 2008). Following up and reecting on the child are alsoways in which to increase competence. Studies show that psycho-logical stress in the form of negative stress in the care of acutely illor injured children can lead to the development of post-traumaticstress disorder. To counteract this, after such emotionally demand-ing events the possibility of debrieng should be offered.


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    Ambulance nurses experiences of nursing critically ill and injured children: A difficult aspect of ambulance nursing careIntroductionAimMethodProcedureParticipantsData collectionData analysisEthical considerations

    FindingsA difficult aspect of ambulance nursing careEmergencies involving children create stress and strong feelingsNeeding to feel personally secure in the situationChildren and parents need securityFeeling relieved to hand over the childRecognize the need for education and follow up

    DiscussionMethodological considerations



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