Nursing: A National Tragedy: Never Shake a Baby

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About the Course

Pediatric abusive head trauma (PAHT), also known as shaken baby syndrome, is a severe type of child abuse that causes injury to the brain (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). PAHT may result in cranial, cerebral, and spinal injuries (Ferrara et al., 2016). This course reviews the significance of PAHT and its cause, pathophysiology, risk factors, identification, and care strategies. Children less than 2 years of age are at the highest risk for this preventable and irreversible injury. Knowledge of risk, case identification, and care strategies are important to good evaluation and treatment. 

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to: 
  • Define pediatric abusive head trauma (PAHT).
  • Describe the significance and incidence of PAHT in the United States.
  • Explain the cause of PAHT.
  • Identify risk factors for PAHT.
  • Describe the signs and symptoms of PAHT.
  • Summarize the pathophysiology of PAHT.
  • Compare diagnostic tests to confirm PAHT.
  • Describe management and reporting requirements for PAHT.
  • Review strategies for preventing PAHT.

About the Author:
Margaret Hughes, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC

Margaret Hughes, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, is a pediatric nurse practitioner who graduated from the Yale School of Nursing in 2016 with a concentration in Global Health. She currently works in student health at a large university in Boston, Massachusetts. Previously, she worked at community-based and school-based health centers providing primary care to high-risk, medically underserved populations. Ms. Hughes also has experience as a nurse and worked in a private pediatric clinic in Connecticut and at an overnight summer camp in New York.

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