Western Australian Trauma Education Committee
In 1994 the Health Department of Western Australia (HDWA) released its Clinical Health Goals and Targets identifying deficiencies in trauma care and services for managing trauma victims within Western Australia.
To address these deficiencies the State Trauma Advisory Committee (STAC) was established in September 1994 and became responsible for the implementation of key recommendations to facilitate and improve the provision of trauma services within Western Australia.
To meet these recommendations trauma training issues were identified as an essential component with a key recommendation being;
- the development of suitable training programs for all relevant health professionals involved in the management of trauma patients.
Rural trauma services, although not as well equipped or as well resourced with facilities as larger centres, do provide immediate assessment, resuscitation, emergency treatment and surgery (when the skill is available). The distances that have to be travelled to reach a hospital with the expertise and technology to treat major injuries in rural Western Australia can be considerable. Consequently, rural and remote health care professionals perform much of the management of trauma patients in the initial critical period, and the range of tasks and skills and the environment in which the rural practitioners work may be quite different from their metropolitan-based colleagues. As a result the training courses that are required must target these training needs.
To address these needs the Education Committee of STAC worked with interested groups in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory to develop a Trauma Course that would meet the needs of a rural and remote multidisciplinary audience. The Education Committee identified differences in the ability of metropolitan and non-metropolitan groups to attend courses, as well as differences in the educational needs of staff at teaching and non-teaching hospitals.
The education of health care professionals in the early management of trauma is seen as an important component to optimising trauma management and reducing preventable deaths. All staff who are involved in the provision of trauma care management need appropriate education and skills in resuscitation, stabilisation and continuing care. Efficient and effective trauma management will be dependent upon the provision of education and training programs that meet the needs of staff working in emergency care settings.
In March 1997 the Western Region Rural Trauma Course (now known as the Western Trauma Course) was introduced. The aim of the course is to ensure that health care professionals involved in the provision of trauma services acquire a level of skill and knowledge that allows them to assess, triage, resuscitate and manage acute trauma patients.
This course provides ready access to education, re-training and re-skilling for rural and remote practitioners, and develops and promotes a team approach to trauma management. This aspect of the course is particularly relevant in rural and remote areas with limited resources and where the medical and nursing staff have to work closely together.