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The Advanced Trauma Nursing Course

The ATNC is a 4 day course for registered nurses, paramedics* and ODP's*. 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 full medical ATLS® course and promote multidisciplinary learning in the management of the trauma patient. The ATNC incorporates e-learning modules developed specifically for ATNC which further enhances the learning opportunities on the course.

ATNC and ATLS® manuals are sent to candidates approximately four weeks before the course starts. Candidates are expected to know the content in detail before commencement of the course. The ATNC course incorporates e-learning modules developed specifically for the course and further enhances the learning opportunities in the course

It is essential that the trauma clinician is fully conversant with the lifesaving skills an injured patient may require during early resuscitation. These include:

  • initial assessment skills
  • airway management
  • shock assessment and management
  • chest trauma management

To establish adequate understanding, the nurses, paramedics and ODP's attend all the ATLS® skill stations where the doctors are taught how to perform these procedures. ATNC candidates join these stations and practice learning how, why and when these are performed. They must be aware of the anatomical landmarks, equipment required and possible complications.

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
  • Spinal Immobilisation of the Injured Patient
  • Teams and making them work

The candidates also undertake simulated practical skills stations in:

  • The initial assessment of trauma patients
  • The management of patients with suspected spinal injury

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. Guiding a competent doctor, played by a faculty member, they should identify the key life-threatening problems, initiate appropriate management and ensure that no further harm comes to the patient. 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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