Trick or Trauma?


Happy Holloween to our fans…..

The title is a very weak link, but recently we were asked by Openhouse medical products to answer some questions about trauma training and the courses we run.  Here are our answers.  We’d appreciate to hear your thoughts and answers to questions 1, 4, 6, 8 and 9. Please contribute in the comments below.

1. Why is it important is it for paramedics in the UK to be trained in trauma management?

It was estimated in 2010 that there are around 20,000 cases of major trauma each year in England, many resulting from road traffic accidents. Due to the promotion and continual improvement of health and safety, major trauma is less common than it was 10 years ago for example. Trauma calls make up a very small proportion of the workload dealt with by the modern ambulance service. The fact that clinicians are exposed to fewer trauma incidents and that transport times are now potentially longer as crews bypass local hospitals in order to deliver the patient to a major trauma centre, training in dealing with a trauma patient is more important than it ever has been.

2. Who do you teach trauma training to? How is the course taught?

We deliver the Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), which is accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons (England) and the NAEMT. We also deliver in-house workshops to deal with major bleeding, splinting and airway management. We teach these course to a range of pre-hospital clinicians including paramedics, technicians, doctors, nurses, offshore medics, mountain rescue teams and the fire and rescue service. The PHTLS is delivered over two days and teaches the principles of managing the poly-trauma patient, hopefully boosting the confidence of the responder in such situations.

3. What methods and training devices do you use to help train medical professionals?

Delivery of these trauma courses is normally done so through expert teacher-led sessions, group discussions, problem-based learning, simulations and moulages. Students are also expected to pass a range of assessments on the PHTLS course. We also offer an optional third day where we put students through their paces with numerous non-assessed scenarios, utilising a professional casualty simulation team.

4. How can you teach medical professionals to be emotionally strong in cases of serious trauma emergencies? 

We cannot teach medical professionals to be emotionally strong but I believe emotions can be somewhat controlled by having the confidence to deal with trauma emergencies. Having the skills and knowledge to deal with what is facing us keeps our mind focused and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed or out of our comfort zone. We teach students to be systematic and to adhere to a set of principles. How they achieve the principle may vary and the ability to improvise is an important skill.

5. Will trauma training provide you with a certificate of some sort?

All of our courses are certified. The PHTLS course certification lasts for 4 years.

6. How long will it take someone to be fully prepared for trauma situations? Will a young training paramedic come face to face with such incidents during their training period or only once they are fully qualified?

This is a hard question to answer. Yes, student paramedics will probably be exposed to some trauma incidents in their placements, and leave university with the hard-skill set to deal with such incidents. Due to the low occurrence and subsequent exposure to trauma, skills and confidence does tend to fade. It’s important to remain current, competent and confident and this is often achieved through some form of training.

Can we ever be fully prepared? I have good friends and experienced colleagues that have suffered serious emotional turmoil later in life having dealt with a traumatic incident or a collection of incidents that didn’t seem to affect them at the time. Clinicians should always be aware of the early signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and know how to seek further help. We also need to look out for one another!

7. Do you use hyper-realistic medical training devices such as Simulaids?

We use a range of simulation equipment including Simulaids advanced life support training manikins, surgical airways and bone injection devices.

8. Is there a certain personality type, which you believe, makes a good trauma doctor, nurse or paramedic?

Certainly those with a level head and that can make decisions under pressure can be better suited to the role, however there isn’t just one certain type of personality as we all bring different things to the role. Some may excel at multitasking and dealing with the logistics, others will excel clinically while others will bring compassion and empathy. Being able to stay focused on the task in hand but also being situationally aware is a benefit.

9. If you could give one piece of advice for someone dealing with a serious medical emergency what would it be?

Don’t be distracted by the obvious injury and miss something life-threatening. This is achieved by being systematic and following the CABCD approach. This should be constantly reviewed throughout your time with the patient.

Don’t be distracted by the obvious injury and miss something life-threatening. This is achieved by being systematic and following the CABCD approach. This should be constantly reviewed throughout your time with the patient.

Trick or Trauma?