The STRESScourse is a 2-day airway, trauma and resuscitative emergency procedural skills course aimed at emergency medicine specialists, pre-hospital physicians, and advanced trainees in these specialties. It is divided into small group presentations and discussion, with ample time in the cadaver lab for hands on practice.
The group discussions commence with brief presentations, which are used as a springboard for learning conversations. Given the high level of clinical experience of participants, we have found that this allows us to draw on the knowledge of the group as a whole.
The cadaver lab is a key part of the course; with a ratio of one cadaver per two participants, everyone is able to gain the ‘hands-on’ experience of each procedure, which is vital to future mental simulation, in order to to enhance clinical practice. Faculty members are present to guide and support participants, and to discuss the nuances of patient presentations, and how they might be managed.
In addition to the key surgical skills of resuscitative thoracotomy, thoracostomy, lateral canthotomy and surgical airways, there are also opportunities to perform skull trephination and guillotine amputation, as well as direct and video-laryngoscopy, and flexible nasendoscopy. There is also opportunity to familiarise with subclavian trauma lines and intra-osseous needles, as well as joint injection/aspiration and a range of ultrasound blocks.
This means that as well as increasing competence in surgical skills, participants are also able to ‘tick off’ several procedures for CPD. The course is approved for 12 hours of CPD by ACEM.