Nurses create online training to help staff spot sepsis in children

Nurse educator Gemma Bradley and children’s nurse Laura Malton have devised an e-learning course for all staff who care for children at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

“Staff can complete the training at a time that suits them and we’ll be able to reach more people”

Gemma Bradley

The idea came after Ms Bradley recognised there was a gap in the training needs of staff in which training for sepsis very much focussed on the condition in just adults. According to the trust there is no national paediatric module available.

Having contacted other trusts to find out what training is on offer, Ms Bradley found only one other that offered specific paediatric training on sepsis – and that was at a children’s hospital.

In a first for the Yorkshire and Humber region, Ms Bradley and Ms Malton worked together to create a bespoke and interactive online training module, which covers the signs and symptoms of sepsis and septic shock that staff can complete at a time that suits them.

The new training will be mandatory for all staff who care for children at the trust, from on the children’s wards, to in outpatients or in the emergency department.

The trust has stated that staff will be required to complete the module every two years.

Ms Bradley said: “Sepsis can be very difficult to diagnose in children as the signs can be very subtle. While we did have existing training for staff it was very much focused on adults.

“I’d previously been delivering face-to-face sessions to staff, but now we have the new e-learning package staff can complete the training at a time that suits them, and we’ll be able to reach more people,” she added.

The new training will cover the six actions of early sepsis treatment, the importance of listening to concerns from parents and offering them “safety net” advice, including when to return to hospital to have their child assessed again.

Every year 25,000 children nationally are affected by sepsis and it can evolve rapidly in children.

The nurses believe it is also important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms too.

Ms Malton said: “Individual symptoms don’t always mean the child has sepsis, but it is important for parents to trust their instincts if they are concerned and seek medical advice as soon as possible so their child can be assessed.”