The course runs over two and a half days and is designed for up to 24 candidates. The instructor/candidates ratio is 1:2. The course consists of two lectures, one demonstration, and thirty hands-on training scenarios, presented within ten workshops.
The workshops are the educational core elements of the ETC, each addressing specific topics covering the complete spectrum of major trauma.
The first day of the course focuses on the identification and treatment of injuries that pose an immediate threat to life: problems associated with the patient’s airway, breathing, thoracic injuries and shock. On the second day participants deal with a more in-depth assessment of specific body areas and on day three patient transfer and team leader issues are covered.
In each workshop there are two instructors and four candidates. The latter assume the roles of trauma team members, with one identified as the team leader. This team training approach reflects typical conditions in a European emergency department. The roles are changed in every module giving every candidate the opportunity to take up each role within a trauma team.
The learning modules
Each workshop contains between three to four learning modules; each consists of a short team briefing, a trauma admission scenario with embedded psychomotor/visuospatial skill teaching and a subsequent team debriefing. All have predetermined specific learning objectives, which address medical, communication or leadership issues that are frequently encountered during trauma resuscitation; for example shock management, prioritising resuscitation treatment, delegation of tasks, recognising potential for other injuries and communication with relevant specialties.
During the scenarios, candidates undertake complete trauma management including: assessment, resuscitation, practical skills, interpretation of investigations, communication and team interaction as required. Specific skills are developed by the two instructors within each scenario using a modified four-step approach. Each module is closed with a debriefing where candidates and instructors discuss the learning points and review the team performance.
All learning modules can be adapted to reflect differing European practice (for example the use of a spine board or vacuum mattress for spinal immobilisation) and regionally differing patterns of trauma (hypothermia or penetrating trauma).