By LeAnne Kennedy, PharmD at Wake Forest Baptist Health

As the mom of two active boys (ages 7 and 17), I’m not exactly a stranger to emergency departments. We’ve had enough incidents to know that a long wait in an ED can amplify the anxiety related to an injury or illness. That’s why we decided to try a different type of emergency department when my youngest son recently broke his arm. Below is our story.

One Saturday in May, my son Andrew was outside on the swing trying to go as high as possible (because that’s the only way little boys know how to swing). During this activity, he shot out of the swing and landed on his arm. Next came the bloodcurdling screams that drew me out into the backyard and rushing toward him.

Because I’m a pharmacist I have some basic health care skills, so I quickly looked him over to see if I could spot any serious injuries. The only thing that stood out to me was his complaint of severe arm pain. Because I suspected his arm was broken, I quickly realized we needed to take him to an emergency department.

As we loaded the family into the car, my husband and I decided we would take Andrew to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Brenner Children’s Hospital. We didn’t make this decision because I’m an employee of Wake Forest Baptist Health; we made it because we wanted our son to receive pediatric-specific care.

We soon saw that we made right choice.

When we walked into Brenner’s ED we were able to register at the front desk right away. And before we even had a chance to finish our registration, the nurse was ready to lead us to an exam room.

This was a first. I had never experienced a short wait in an emergency department before that. Then again, the EDs we had visited in the past had waiting rooms that were mostly filled with adults. Because the emergency department at Brenner Children’s Hospital is child focused, pediatric specialists are already on hand.

In addition to the quick service, we also appreciated the atmosphere. The doctors, nurses and staff provided casual, child-oriented service. They joked and chatted with Andrew, putting him at ease. I could tell that even the department’s decor was meant to distract children from any fear. The X-ray machine was decorated like a boat, which Andrew loved. He spent a lot of time looking around at everything and wasn’t scared at all.

As a mom, I’m grateful the Brenner staff works hard at reducing kids’ anxiety. They are very in-tune with parents, as well. The attending physician shared a few stories with my husband and me about his own child’s misadventures. It was obvious that he wanted us to be comfortable, too.

All in all, we were at the emergency department about an hour. (This includes the time they spent setting up a follow-up appointment for us to see a pediatric orthopedist.) During our visit, everyone we came into contact with was attentive and, when it came to Andrew, appropriately fun-loving.

While no mom ever wants her child to be in a situation that results in an emergency department visit, I’m very grateful that Brenner Children’s ED is an option for Triad children—especially considering it’s the only level I pediatric trauma center in North Carolina. As for Andrew, he’s doing quite well. He got to show off a printout of his X-ray and have his classmates sign his cast. Na ow he’s looking forward to getting it off so that he can play as hard as always!

LeeAnne Kennedy is a mom, and is also clinical specialist for hematology and oncology at Wake Forest Baptist Health

Sponsored by Brenner Children’s Hospital