Assessment of trauma management in Australian primary care physicians

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemerapeer-review


The Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course arguably represents the gold standard for the protocol-driven early management of victims of trauma. A somewhat modified version of ATLS has been taught in Australasia since 1988 after it was adapted to suit the geographic and environmental conditions and is known as the Early Management of Severe Trauma (EMST) course. International studies have shown a decline of ATLS skills and knowledge with time following course completion. To date similar studies have not been done in Australia where skill maintenance is generally problematic due to the relatively low frequency of exposure to relevant clinical material.

To assess trauma management process and to determine trauma education needs in primary care physicians who have completed the EMST course.

Thirteen primary care physicians participated in a trauma assessment workshop. They completed a 24-item survey on their trauma management skills. Following this they proceeded to a clinical examination where their trauma management process was assessed by EMST examiners using a standardised checklist. The final part of this study involved focus group discussions to determine their educational needs.

Participants had completed EMST on average 6 years earlier (range=1-10 years). There was a good correlation between their self-reported skills and performance in the clinical examination. The average score out of ten (where 1=poor and 10=excellent) for attitude was 8.7 (SD=0.7), organisational skills was 7.9 (SO=1.3), adherence to priorities was 7.8 (SO=1.4) and overall performance was 8.0 (SO=1.3). Participants indicated that they would like more practical and procedural skills as part of their trauma education.

Key messages
The trauma management process was generally well maintained after EMST completion. The focus group discussions provided an insight into their educational requirements in early trauma management.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventPrimary Health Care NOW - Perth Zoo Conference Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 11 Nov 200611 Nov 2006


ConferencePrimary Health Care NOW


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