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Med Teach. 2011;33(7):585-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.576716.

Undergraduate education in trauma medicine: the students' verdict on current teaching.

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Imperial College London, UK.



Junior doctors are amongst the first healthcare professionals to assess and provide initial hospital care for multiply injured patients. Despite this, no requirements are placed upon UK medical schools for training undergraduates in aspects of trauma care. Medical students have increasingly been attending a number of student-organised extracurricular 'trauma conferences' in order to supplement their knowledge in this area.


To provide insight into the quality and quantity of trauma medicine teaching currently received at the undergraduate level by directly eliciting the experiences of medical students. If a perceived lack of trauma teaching is driving students to seek extracurricular exposure to trauma education, what lessons can be gleaned for medical schools?


A voluntary, anonymous, quantitative questionnaire was used to collect data from 218 medical students from across the UK.


Among our results, 60% of final-year students were shown to have received fewer than 5 h of teaching in trauma medicine. Basic cervical-spine immobilisation teaching had not been received by 62%, while a third had not received Basic Life Support (BLS) training. The majority of students believed their training in trauma medicine not to be adequate and would like to see more teaching offered by their respective medical schools.


Students report a paucity of teaching in trauma medicine. Our findings corroborate previous concerns that junior doctors are under-prepared for managing trauma patients, and support the repeated calls made in the scientific literature to include organised teaching of trauma medicine in the undergraduate curriculum.

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