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Prepared to Care

An Exploration of Continuing Education Trends of Nurses Caring for Injured Children

Roney, Linda Nancy, EdD, RN-BC, CPEN, CNE; Acri, Mary C., PhD

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000425

The significance of nursing competence in the care of pediatric trauma patients has been well documented. Continuing education for trauma nurses is a critical component of maintaining competence in pediatric trauma care; yet, there is significant variability in the programs and resources used to support this goal. The purpose of this current study was to describe the educational activities that practicing registered nurses engage in to inform their care of injured children. A quantitative, descriptive nonexperimental research design was utilized to describe the educational programs that members of the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) must complete to work in verified and designated trauma centers. Participants completed a survey instrument that included demographic questions, pediatric trauma educational programs required/offered by their employer, and feedback about pediatric trauma nursing education. A total of 266 STN members completed the electronic survey, reflecting a 9% response rate. Most of the participants reported that the verifying body required trauma nursing education hours (n = 187, 70.3%). The number of required courses ranged from 1 to 6, with 33 (12.4%) reporting this 3-course combination—emergency nursing pediatric course (ENPC), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), and trauma nursing core course (TNCC). The second most common combination of courses (n = 30; 11.3%) was required to take both PALS and TNCC. No significant relationship was found between verifying agency type and continuing education program required (p> .05). Trauma nursing core course was the most popular course (n = 208; 79%), followed by PALS (n = 194; 73%) and ENPC (n = 103; 38%). Participants also shared barriers to continuing education activities. It has been 10 years since pediatric trauma nursing course utilization was first explored in the literature. There continue to be significant opportunities to support nurses in continuing education activities related to the care of injured children. While barriers to accessing these types of activities sometimes exist, it is the responsibility of the pediatric trauma community to explore these challenges even further and collaborate with others interested in improving the care of injured children.

Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut (Dr Roney); and Department of Social Work, School of Health and Human Services, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven (Dr Acri).

Correspondence: Linda Nancy Roney, EdD, RN-BC, CPEN, CNE, Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, Fairfield University, 1073 N Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.