Introduction: Teamwork and successful communication are essential parts of any medical specialty, especially in the trauma setting. U.S. Navy physicians developed a course for deploying fleet surgical teams to reinforce
teamwork, communication, and baseline knowledge of trauma management.
Methods: The course combines 22 hours of classroom didactics along with 28 hours of hands-on simulation and cadaver-based laboratories to reinforce classroom concepts. It culminates in a 6-hour, multiwave exercise of multiple, critically injured victims of a mass casualty and uses the “Cut Suit” (Human Worn Partial Task Surgical Simulator; Strategic Operations), which enables performance of multiple realistic surgical procedures as encountered on real casualties. Participants are graded on time taken from initial patient encounter to disposition and the number of errors made. Pre- and post-training written examinations are also given. The course is graded based on participants’ evaluation of the course.
Results: The majority of the participants indicated that the course promoted teamwork, enhanced knowledge, and gave confidence. Only 51.72% of participants felt confident in dealing with trauma patients before the course, while 82.76% felt confident afterward (p = .01). Both the time spent on each patient and the number of errors made also decreased after course completion.
Conclusions: The course was successful in improving teamwork, communication and base knowledge of all the team members.
Patient Care: Demonstrates how trauma teams can be educated in a relatively safe environment under simulated but stressful conditions to be ready to deal with actual mass casualties in real time.
Learning Objectives: Teamwork and successful communication are an essential
part of any medical specialty, especially surgery in trauma setting. This project reinforced this idea and demonstrated how it can be applied to every team member.