Teaching hospitals have extra responsibilities when constructing their trauma activation team. They are typically charged with educating trainees from a variety of disciplines, including residents, medical students, and students from other disciplines (EMT, PA, NP). The activation process must not only provide rapid and high quality trauma care, it must also teach these students how to provide that care.
Residents can be integrated into the typical physician roles on the team: airway and primary examiner. To integrate more trainees, these roles can be split further. For example, the examiner’s role can be split into a primary examiner and a secondary examiner with separate, lesser responsibilities. PAs and NPs can be integrated into these roles as well.
One of the most important “additions” to the team that allows education of senior level residents is the Team Leader. This role allows the trainee to learn how to direct the overall resuscitation and allows them to practice making management decisions on the fly. Typically, the Team Leader does not actually touch the patient, allowing the other examining physicians to do this and learn their specific roles. Each role can be assigned to an appropriate level resident, so that they move to higher levels as they progress through their training program.
Here is a template for a trauma team that allows four trainees (yellow balloons) to participate. One faculty members supervises all of them.
At our Trauma Center, we have these four trainees plus another Emergency Medicine resident who performs the FAST exam, if indicated. Two faculty members participate, one trauma surgeon and one Emergency Medicine faculty. Our total team size is 12, so it must be well-coordinated in order to avoid chaos.
Medical and paramedic students are usually confined to the periphery to take notes (H&P) or just observe.
Please leave your comments describing the composition of your team and what makes it run well.
Tomorrow: qualifications of your trauma team personnel