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The Advanced Trauma Nursing Course

The ATNC is a 3-day course for registered nurses, paramedics* and ODP's*. It follows the patient journey from preparing for their arrival, through the resuscitation phase of their care. It provides an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skill and attitude necessary to care for the trauma patient and is recognized as an appropriate preparation for achieving Level 2 National Major Trauma Nursing Competencies (NMTNG 2016). The "team approach" is encouraged through shared learning with doctors on the Advanced Trauma Life Support Course (ATLS®). In this respect the ATNC is unique in the UK in being able to combine with the full medical ATLS® course and promote multidisciplinary learning in the management of the trauma patient. The ATNC has access to the ATLS® e-learning modules, which cover the knowledge component of ATLS®. In addition, nurses will complete pre-course learning in the ATNC manual.

ATNC and ATLS® manuals are sent to candidates approximately four weeks before the course starts. Candidates are expected to have completed the pre-course learning prior to the start of the course.

The one-day nursing component of ATNC precedes the ATLS® course. This section focuses on the nursing responsibilities essential to acute trauma management. A variety of teaching and learning methods are used to explore the following areas:

  • Planning for the Injured Patient
  • Assessment and management of the Injured Patient
  • Medico-Legal Aspects of Trauma  
  • Psychological Impact of Trauma
  • Teams and making them work

On the ATLS® days, the nurses work in small groups with medical candidates on the ATLS® course. Unfolding scenarios are used to structure the learning, so that candidates can apply their knowledge from the pre-course learning in clinical simulations. Interactive discussions are also used to cover the approaches to teamwork and managing trauma at the extremes of age. To complete the course successfully, the candidate must be able to perform an assessment of the simulated trauma victim, using principles learned on the course. They will need to be able to identify key life-threatening problems, initiate appropriate management and ensure that no further harm comes to the patient within the scope of practice. In addition, the candidate’s theoretical knowledge is tested using a Multiple-Choice Questionnaire (MCQ), which has a pass mark of 80%.

*ATNC provides trauma education to Registered Nurses working in trauma teams. However, to meet the educational needs of a changing workforce in trauma teams it is possible for health care professional from other groups (EG Paramedics and Operating Department Practitioners) to complete ATNC.

These professionals must have current registration with the Healthcare Professionals Council (HCPC) and be working as part of a hospital-based trauma team on a regular basis, with responsibilities for the ongoing care of the patient as part of the trauma call. These professionals need to be aware and accept that the ATNC curriculum will not be adapted from its core focus on training nurses to care for the seriously injured patient and their family.

Applications should be discussed with the ATNC Director at the local centre to approve a place on the course.

Non-nurses are not able to become ATNC instructors at this time.

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