Pediatric Sepsis Overview


Sepsis remains the leading cause of pediatric death worldwide, with reported mortality ranging from 4% to 50%. In the United States, over 75,000 children are hospitalized with sepsis annually, with nearly 10,000 deaths attributed to sepsis each year. Significant life-long morbidity can result for survivors of pediatric sepsis. Health care teams can directly impact sepsis-related morbidity and mortality through early identification and treatment. This course is designed to provide clinicians with a foundational knowledge of sepsis in children. 

This educational activity has been a Joint Collaboration between Children's Hospital Association and Sepsis Alliance.

Target Audience

Nurses and physicians. Other healthcare professionals may benefit.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the course, the attendee should be able to:

  • Describe the mechanism of inflammatory response and organ dysfunction present in pediatric sepsis;
  • Discuss common causative organisms of pediatric sepsis;
  • Identify patients at risk for pediatric sepsis;
  • Outline the clinical manifestations in pediatric sepsis;
  • List laboratory and diagnostic tests frequently used in screening for or monitoring of pediatric sepsis;
  • Discuss treatment strategies for pediatric sepsis.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 ANCC Contact Hours
  • 1.00 Participation
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Mary Kate Abbadessa, MSN, ACCNS-P, RN, RN-BC, CPEN

Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Specialist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Mary Kate Abbadessa is the Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Emergency Department (ED) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She has been involved with sepsis quality improvement work since 2021 as the ED nursing clinical champion for sepsis, and currently co-leads for the hospital's sepsis governance committee for quality improvement. Ms. Abbadessa is an active member of the Children's Hospital Association's Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes Collaborative and a past participant in the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine's Pediatric Sepsis Shock Collaborative (PSSC). She has presented locally and nationally on the topic of pediatric sepsis and has contributed to numerous related manuscripts. Her additional clinical and research interests include the care of the child requiring medical or trauma resuscitation. 

Accreditation Statements:

PLEASE NOTE: Healthcare providers wishing to claim CE credits should select only one credit type in the "Credits" section of the activity after completion. Physicians should claim AMA PRA Category 1 credits™. Nurses should claim ANCC contact hours. All other healthcare providers should claim Participation credits. Please reach out to with any questions.

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Children’s Hospital Association and Sepsis Alliance. Children’s Hospital Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

For Nurses: Children's Hospital Association designates this activity for a maximum of 1.0 ANCC contact hours.

Other healthcare providers and learners will receive a certificate of attendance.


CHA has a conflict-of-interest policy that requires everyone in a position to control the content of an education activity to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any ineligible company. Any potential conflicts are mitigated so that presentations are evidence-based and scientifically balanced. No conflict of interest exists for any CE presenter or planning committee member related to the content of this educational activity.

This educational offering is provided without commercial support.  

Medical Disclaimer

The information on or available through this site is intended for educational purposes only. Sepsis Alliance does not represent or guarantee that information on or available through this site is applicable to any specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content on or available through this site does not constitute medical advice from a physician and is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare provider. Sepsis Alliance recommends users consult their physician or healthcare provider regarding any questions about whether the information on or available through this site might apply to their individual treatment or care.

Accreditation Period

Course opens: 04/15/2021

Course expires: 04/14/2024

Available Credit

  • 1.00 ANCC Contact Hours
  • 1.00 Participation
Please login or register to take this course.

This activity includes:

  • Pre-test
  • Written clinical content 
  • Reflective case study
  • Post-test (passing rate: 80%)
  • Evaluation

All components must be completed to earn a certificate of attendance. This course can be completed at your convenience.