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    Hi,

    Currently an SHO with 2.5 years experience as a doctor. I'm considering doing ATLS next summer.

    Relevant background: 1 rotation on surgery/urology, 1 rotation on A&E and will be in the middle of another A&E rotation next summer.

    I'm in a dilemma as to whether to go for it or not. I dont have anything else to spend the study budget on so finance is not an issue. But have heard various things about prep.

    An A&E reg who had done it twice said you have to know the book pretty well they grill you on the course military style. Another GP trainee who also had done it twice said it was nowhere that amount of prep and is very useful. Google brings up mainly american based discussions.

    Has anyone done the ATLS here (i.e. in the UK)?

    If so, how much preparation do you feel you need for it?

    Also, would be interesting to hear if you found it generally useful or not....

    Thanks.
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    What are your career aspirations?

    ATLS is a good introduction to basic trauma management, and will make being part of a trauma team easier and so is worth doing if you will be doing a job involving that sort of thing - it will also get you points on application forms to some of the acute specialties. I found it to be more difficult than ALS - the providers were quite exacting in what they expect, and the failure rate is certainly much higher than for other life support courses. The written examination required quite in-depth knowledge of the course manual.

    I did find it to be fun, but don't take it for granted that you'll pass without doing some work.
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    Agree that it was tougher than ALS. I probably didn't prepare as much as I ought to have, but had read the manual through and done the pre-course questionnaire which is mandatory. I think there's probably some variation depending on where you do it and who your instructors are, but while I didn't find it scarily demanding, I was definitely aware that failure was an option! It was three long, full days, so I found it quite tiring, especially if you have to commute because there are no available courses near you.

    It's worth noting that it is starting to be considered a bit out of date as trauma medicine develops, unless they've updated it since I did it in 2014. They were still advocating 2L of crystalloid for everyone, and etomidate/sux as drugs of choice for RSI. It does help you understand the modified ABC approach and feel more confident being in a trauma team, but I believe there are more contemporary courses out there - though I'm not sure whether they'll get you job application points.

    You haven't stated what your career ambitions are - if you want to be a GP, physician etc, it's pointless. If you want to do A&E, surgery, anaesthetics etc, then it's much more useful. I was one of the more junior candidates as a CT2, though there were a couple of FY2s, and the only anaesthetist - all the others were either surgeons or EM-ers.
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    There is a paper exam, which isn't as easy as the tests on some other courses. The questions are straight out of the ATLS manual and so you just need to read it carefully and absorb the details. The rest of the course isn't particularly taxing - just lectures and moulage scenarios like any other resuscitation course.

    I didn't prepare at all and spent an anxious evening after the first day reading the manual thoroughly, which turned out to be sufficient. The only preparation I think you could/should do is to read the manual once before attending - possibly 3-4 hours work.

    As the others said, only bother with ATLS if it's relevant to your future practice as there are lots of other courses on which you could spend your study budget.
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    Did it as an FY2. Scraped through the pre-course MCQ and skim-read a few pages of the book on the evening after the first day, so minimal prep but I'd had various 'ATLS in 30 mins' tutorials through T&O jobs. Enjoyed the course but found it contradictory to usual practice and frustrating that it was so far behind evidence - am hoping that by the time I have to re-certify that RCS will accept the ETC or something else in its place as I hear ETC is far more realistic of current trauma practice.
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    Thanks for your replies guys.

    So from the sounds of things, a solid weekend reading the manual beforehand should suffice?

    A little concerning that they dont appear to keep up to date, the reg I mentioned before said the opposite actually, that they constantly review new evidence and stay up to date!

    As for my career aspirations, I actually want to become a GP with a special interest in Emergency Medicine. I know this may sound rather unconventional, but there are actually quite a few fully qualified GPs in my deanery who work one or two days a week on A&E as a reg, without ever having gone down the formal A&E training route.

    Basically although I've always wanted to be a GP (I intend to locum, not commit to a full time position), I've also always wanted to work regularly on A&E too, even if it was one shift a week and keep my acute skills up to date. I did, at some point in the future, also want to train in pre-hospital medicine, even if its just a course where I can pick up basic skills of what to do in out of hospital emergencies.

    With this in mind, if there are other courses which I would be better off spending my money on, would love to hear about these.

    Thanks again.
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    Is there a massive difference between ATLS and CCrISP with regards to content and relevance to core surgery trainees? Is it one or the other or do trainees generally do both? (I note that F2's are eligible to apply for ATLS but not CCrISP)
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    (Original post by MedicUK)
    A little concerning that they dont appear to keep up to date, the reg I mentioned before said the opposite actually, that they constantly review new evidence and stay up to date!
    ATLS is (a) very North American and (b) intended (like ALS) to ensure that all members of a trauma team are working to the same template algorithm. There is plenty of room for people to argue with individual practices (should we routinely immobilise all necks? CT or XR c-spines that can't be cleared clinically?) and ATLS does not always reflect the European trauma practice. It sounds as if you are going to need to have completed an advanced trauma course at some point. ATLS is probably the best known of these.

    (Original post by MedicUK)
    As for my career aspirations, I actually want to become a GP with a special interest in Emergency Medicine.
    This is not really an unconventional route at all. Many GPs have portfolio careers and they are very popular in Emergency Departments. One problem is that EDs will often exploit their skills in "Minors" or "Paeds" rather than "Majors" and "Resus". This is obviously up for negotiation with your local EDs and will depend on your skill set as well as their attitude.
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    (Original post by Caponester)
    Is there a massive difference between ATLS and CCrISP with regards to content and relevance to core surgery trainees? Is it one or the other or do trainees generally do both? (I note that F2's are eligible to apply for ATLS but not CCrISP)
    They are completely different courses - ATLS is all trauma and CCrISP is about managing post-operative complications. You will need to do both eventually if pursuing a surgical career but CCrISP is a pretty awful course. I felt that it might have been a good course for new FY1s about to begin their first surgical job but there wasn't very much for a seasoned SHO to learn.
 
 
 
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