July 2023 President's Letter

Greetings SPN Members!

This past month, I had the privilege of representing SPN with Jenni Baird, SPN President-Elect, at the Emotional Safety Summit II hosted by our Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) colleagues. I am so grateful for the work ACLP has spearheaded and for the invitation for a seat at the table for this important discussion.

 The first Emotional Safety Summit was hosted in 2019 and yielded a whitepaper entitled Emotional Safety in Pediatrics. ACLP defines emotional safety as an intentional, interdisciplinary practice to promote resiliency, healing, and trust for pediatric patients and their families during medical experiences and has focused on how to foster the well-being and psychosocial support of pediatric patients and their families by providing emotionally safe interactions and spaces for healthcare delivery. We are all aware of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impacting a child’s sense of safety, stability, and bonding, but have we given thought to how hospitalization and medical visits contribute to ACEs? We can lessen the impact of stress on children and families by strengthening our emotional intelligence in the delivery of information, the context and environment in which we provide information and care.

 Emotional safety is an intentional, interdisciplinary practice to promote resiliency, healing, and trust for pediatric patients and their families during medical experiences.

 At the June 2023 summit, twelve key stakeholder organizations (ACLP, SPN, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association, American Trauma Society, Institute for Health Improvement, Pediatric Trauma Society, The Joint Commission, International Network for Simulation-Based Pediatric Innovation, Research & Education, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board/Institute of Pediatric Nursing, The Beryl Institute, and Trauma Center Association of America) came to the table to better understand the emotional safety framework and translate the goals of the framework’s pillars to integrate emotional safety into practice. 

 Practicing emotional safety includes addressing the developmental and emotional needs of pediatric patients in a proactive, comprehensive, and systematic approach incorporating atraumatic, developmentally appropriate, and patient and family-centered strategies. Reducing medical trauma and distress to patients and families builds trust and promotes positive health encounters that positively impact health-related quality of life. Through this work, we also decrease the level of moral distress experienced by those providing care.

 ACLP’s recommendations for interdisciplinary teams to enhance the provision of emotionally safe care aligns with SPN’s desire to foster excellence in the care of children and their families through developmentally appropriate, patient and family centered, and holistic care. I look forward to the work that lies ahead as we collaborate with ACLP and our interprofessional partners to educate our membership and champion emotional safety in pediatric nursing to improve the standard of care for children and their families.

Kathy Van Allen, MSN, RN, CPN
SPN President

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