Answering your call
Nothing's worse than having a sick child and not knowing who to call. Often, after normal work hours, parents are sent to answering services when calling their pediatrician’s office, or are hesitant to call because they don’t want to disturb their provider. When families don’t know who to call or delay calling, it can lead to a late-night emergency room visit.
Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel
identified a need to support pediatric clinics in the off-hours, creating our own pediatric answer line back in 2000. For 16 years, our nurses have been promptly responding to frantic parents and triaging or helping them figure out the best care for their children, providing the highest quality of information, keeping patients, parents and physicians happy. Each year, our nurses answer over 40,000 calls from families throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
"As a parent and employee of Randall Children's Hospital, I debated whether I should call the after-hours answer line for my pediatrician's office," said Mishawn Pedersen, ambulatory director. “I was a panicked new parent and didn’t want to disturb my provider for something silly but as the hours ticked by and my son’s fever increased, I finally called out of fear. I definitely didn't realize that the nurse I would eventually speak to was from Randall Children's. It was such a relief knowing the phone consultation for my child's illness was being handled by someone I trusted. “ Pedersen went on to say that The Randall Children’s Answer Line nurse was kind and so helpful, helped her family avoid a late night visit to the emergency room and helped them all sleep better.
Following specific guidelines and protocols, the primary goal for the answer line is to safely get the patient through the night so they can follow up with their pediatrician the next day. In addition to assessing and giving care advice, the nurse’s role is also to provide reassurance and education. About 35 percent of calls receive home care advice and do not need further follow up, 25 percent of patients are directed to contact their primary care physician within 24 hours and 10 percent are directed to be seen in the emergency department
or urgent care
"Our pediatric answer line is a service we are extremely proud of," said Tricia Mickle, Randall Children’s answer line manager at Randall Children's Hospital. "We've been providing this incredible service that has put so many minds at ease once our callers realize they are speaking to a Randall nurse."
The more than 21 R.N.s in the group return calls to parents, assess symptoms, provide care advice and help educate parents in multiple topics of childhood illness. "This job can be extremely stressful and requires a high level of detail," said Molly Sperry, answer line coordinator. "A nurse needs to be able to piece together the parent’s story without ever seeing the child. This can only be done by experienced pediatric nurses who have fine-tuned this skill." This group of nurses at Randall Children’s Hospital bring professionalism and caring to our community, and the high level of customer satisfaction is proof that this department makes a big difference in the lives of these parents and children.
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone
Photos courtesy of the Pedersen family