Trauma is the leading cause of mortality in young adults in the United Kingdom. Many such deaths are preventable if patients are treated effectively. Delay in providing care by experienced, trained staff is seen as a major factor in unsatisfactory trauma management. In order to reduce the number of deaths, the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) system has been recommended for use in the management of patients with major injuries. However, there is little evidence to support the participation of nurses in the ATLS system. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of ATLS training on the performance of nurses in Accident and Emergency, taking account of experience and intuition. Results suggest that the Trauma Nursing Core Course and the Advanced Trauma Nursing Course have a positive influence on nurses' performance. Experienced staff who had received full, participative ATLS training demonstrated an improved understanding of the trauma situation resulting in rapid and accurate decision-making. However, attending the ATLS course as an observer appears to have minimal effect on a nurse's performance and such non-participant training should no longer be considered as equivalent to participant training.
- Advanced trauma life support