Graduation Date

Fall 12-16-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Emergency Preparedness

First Advisor

Sharon J. Medcalf, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Theodore Cieslak, M.D.

Third Advisor

Philip W. Smith, M.D


Nebraska emergency departments may be underprepared for a mass casualty event involving a large number of children, as indicated by the results from the 2013 Emergency Medical Services for Children’s (EMSC) Pediatric Readiness Project (PRP) report. This was primarily evident by the lack of existence of a pediatric triage policy among Nebraska emergency departments. Utilizing a survey, this study attempted to identify the emergency departments in Nebraska that followed the EMSC guideline of having a pediatric triage policy, as well as to identify possible barriers to guideline adherence among those that did not have the policy.

It was found that Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) were statistically less likely to have a pediatric triage policy. Furthermore, there was a statistically significant correlation between awareness of the policy and existence of the policy. Among hospitals that did not have a pediatric triage policy, lack of staff time and limited knowledge of pediatric triage were the most often indicated barriers, while financial limitations were less frequently indicated.

It is our anticipation that the results of this study will be used by EMSC and Nebraskan hospitals to increase pediatric triage guideline adherence in emergency departments.