Call: 1-202-476-5000

For Patients & Families
Visiting and Staying
Locations and Directions
Medical Records
Parenting Corner & Blog
Create and View Patient Websites
Patient Spotlight
Just for Kids
Clinical Trials
Insurance and Billing
Services for Families
Give to Children's
How to Select A Pediatric Hospital

this page Email This Page
Print this page Print This Page

  Join Us On:
  Follow Children's on Facebook  Facebook
  Follow Children's on Twitter  Twitter
  Watch Children's on YouTube  YouTube

How to Select A Pediatric Hospital

Children’s National Medical Center has been recognized as a “Top Hospital” by the prestigious Leapfrog Group and has been ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in many specialties by U.S.News and World Report. Additionally, Children’s National recently earned Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Many of the reasons why Children’s National has been recognized by these organizations are also reasons why parents choose Children’s National when their children need care. Learn more about our awards and national leadership.

Parents have many healthcare options for their child(ren). Here are some questions that parents should ask when making a decision about where to take their child for treatment.

Does the hospital have board-certified specialists for the patient’s condition?
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 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 health care. Some specialties of pediatrics also feature subspecialty training and certification, of which many of our physicians have in the available areas. You can search for a doctor by name or by specialty under Find a Doctor to find a pediatrician who meets your needs.

Back to top

If your child needs a procedure that requires anesthesia, are the physicians pediatric anesthesiologists?
Children’s National anesthesiologists are all pediatric board certified, meaning they have taken 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 population. 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. Children are not little adults, and this is especially important when it comes to anesthesiology, a very specialized area of medicine essential in high quality outcomes in surgery, as well as other procedures that may require sedation for young children, like MRIs.

Back to top

Are the intensive care units staffed by 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 pediatric critical care specialist (pediatric intensivist) can provide the special care that your child needs. Pediatric intensivists usually need to 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 who work in intensive care units are specially trained as well for critical care medicine.

Back to top

Are prescriptions for medicines and orders for tests and procedures entered directly into a computer?
At Children’s National all orders are entered into a computer right at the patient’s bedside. This way, errors are reduced because automatic warning systems can check for potential drug interactions and can make sure doses are right given the patient’s age and weight. Learn more about our commitment to safety and quality through our Electronic Medical Record program.

Is the hospital recognized for its safety culture? Many hospitals have put programs into place that empower everyone to stop a procedure or stop someone from giving medicine to a patient if they think the patient might be at risk.
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.

Back to top

Does the hospital practice family/patient-centered care? Family-centered care recognizes that families are a child’s primary source of support.
At Children’s National, families are considered part of the care team, and are encouraged to participate with doctors and nurses in the patient’s care plan. Most rooms for patients who have to stay overnight are private, have private bathrooms, and can accommodate parents or guardians who are encouraged to stay overnight.

In addition, 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 experience with us. Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, and Pastoral Care Chaplains are available to help you navigate the process, understand the decisions that need to be made and provide support.

Back to top

Is the hospital designated a Level 1 or 2 Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons or by your state licensing board? 

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 kinds of resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.

Children’s National Medical Center 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.

Back to top

Does the hospital include nurses in its leadership and in key decision making? Hospitals that are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as being Magnet hospitals have fewer medical complications, improved patient safety, and higher patient satisfaction than other hospitals.
Children’s National has achieved Magnet status, which highlights the leadership role our nurses play. Only a handful of children’s hospitals have this recognition, putting Children’s National among an elite group of hospitals in the nation – and the world.

Back to top

Does the hospital have an Emergency Department and equipment designed just for pediatric patients?
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

Also, Children’s National Medical Center 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.

Back to top

Quick Links
Visiting and Staying at Children's
Refer a Patient to Children's
Find A Doctor at Children's
Request an Appointment at Children's
Online Bill Pay
Give to Children's
Get Involved at Children's
Subscribe to Children's RSS Feed