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Choosing the Right Care Team

Young Boy Patient Smiling

At Children’s National Health System, we are more than a hospital; we’re a health system just for kids. We take a team approach to care where all specialties and departments are totally integrated to offer the best care overall. Our entire care team is recognized experts in caring for children; it’s not part of what we do, it’s all we do.

Children’s National is ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in many specialties by U.S.News and World Report and our nurses continually earn Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, but these are just a few of the ways in which we provide excellent care for children.

Family-Centered Care

group of doctor and staffAt Children’s National, families are considered part of the patient care team, and are encouraged to participate with doctors and nurses in the patient’s care plan. Most rooms are private, have private bathrooms, and can accommodate parents or guardians need to stay overnight.

Children’s National has many support services available for our patients and families. When a child is diagnosed with an illness, our first goal is to find the best possible care for that child. But we also understand that it isn't only the child who needs support, care, guidance, and assistance. Family Services meet the needs of the entire family during their visit with us. Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, and Chaplaincy Services staff are available to help you navigate the process, understand the decisions that need to be made and provide support.

Board-Certified Specialists

Although the reasons for taking a child to visit his or her doctor may vary greatly, there is one consistent measure of quality on which you can always count. A pediatrician certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) has demonstrated commitment and dedication to the highest level of professionalism and expertise in patient care.

In addition to completing years of schooling, fulfilling residency requirements, and passing the exams required to practice medicine in your state, board certified specialists participate in an ongoing process of continuing education to keep current with the latest advances in medical science and technology in his or her specialty, as well as best practices in patient safety, quality healthcare, and creating a responsive patient-focused environment. To maintain board certification, physicians participate in an extensive process that involves completing accredited education seminars and specialty training and periodic oral and written exams to demonstrate competency.

The Children’s National care team includes more than 500 board-certified specialists in every area of children’s healthcare. Some specialties of pediatrics also feature subspecialty training and certification, of which many of our physicians have in the available areas. You can search by name or by specialty under Find a Doctor to find a pediatrician who meets your needs.

Pediatric Anesthesiologists

Children’s anesthesiologists are all pediatric board certified, meaning they have completed a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology and have specialized training. The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) provide a combined integrated training in pediatrics and anesthesiology, so our pediatric anesthesiologists are trained specifically to serve the pediatric patient. Some healthcare facilities have anesthesiologists who have general training in anesthesiology, but they are not specialty trained in administering anesthesia to children to meet their unique healthcare needs.

Children’s is the only institution in the area that guarantees anesthesia administered by a fellowship-trained pediatric anesthesiologist. Is this board-certified? Children are not little adults, and this is especially significant in anesthesiology, a very specialized area of medicine essential in high quality outcomes in surgery. Other procedures may require sedation for young children, such as MRIs.

Specially Trained Pediatric Intensivists

Practitioners in critical care medicine are called intensivists. If your child has an illness or injury that results in your child being in an unstable critical condition, a hospital-based critical care specialist (pediatric intensivist) can provide the special care that your child needs. Pediatric intensivists usually complete four years of medical school, participate in a three-year pediatric care residency, and enter a two- to three- year pediatric critical care fellowship.

Children’s National’s intensive care units are always staffed by pediatric intensivists. These are doctors with special training in the type of care a child needs if he or she has been seriously injured in an accident, or has a complex surgery that requires intensive follow up monitoring. Pediatric intensivists are trained in working specifically with children, which is important in caring for very young and small patients. All of our nurses working in intensive care units are specially trained as well for critical care medicine.

Reducing Errors with Bedside Computer Entry

At Children’s National all orders are entered into a computer at the patient’s bedside. We've enacted automatic warning systems to check for potential drug interactions and ensure correct doses are right given for the patient’s age and weight. Learn more about our commitment to safety and quality through our Electronic Medical Record program.

Highest Safety Standards for All Hospital Staff

At Children’s National, all staff members (both clinical and non-clinical) have been trained in these safety standards. Parents and family members are also encouraged to speak up if they see anything that does not seem right. At Children’s National, everyone contributes to our Safety culture.

Children’s National received a RACE for Results performance improvement award from Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA) for “The Power of One: Virtually Eliminating Serious Safety Events (SSEs) through Safety Culture, High Reliability Techniques and Employee Engagement.” The RACE for Results award recognizes exceptional initiatives that improve patient care in children's hospitals. Children’s National was selected as a co-winner from 35 entries from the nation’s leading children’s hospitals.

Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center

In the United States, trauma centers are ranked by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), from Level I (comprehensive service) to Level III (limited-care). The different levels refer to the resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.

Children’s National has been verified as a Level I Trauma Center-Pediatric by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons (ACS). Children’s National is the only pediatric hospital in the DC-Baltimore region to receive this verification, which recognizes the team’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured children throughout the region.

The Verification Review Committee on Trauma of the ACS reported that Children’s National is committed to the care of trauma patients through services such as orthopaedics, neurosurgery, emergency medicine, radiology, and anesthesiology. The Committee particularly noted the camaraderie of the entire trauma team, including nurse managers, physicians, and data entry personnel.

Emergency Department Fit for Children's National

Children’s has one of the largest pediatric emergency departments in the country, treating more than 70,000 patients per year. The Emergency Department features equipment and designs specifically to serve the needs of children.

Children’s National also has a decontamination unit designed specifically for pediatrics. The state of-the-art facility, located adjacent to the Emergency Department, is designed to meet the unique healthcare needs of children and their families in the event of a biological, chemical or radiological event. The 4,785 square-foot facility has the capacity to treat 48 patients and includes 18 decontamination showers, several exam and consult rooms, and direct elevator access to a separate quarantine unit. Nearly 100 Children’s employees from different departments have participated in extensive training in the event that decontamination is required.