Trauma Educational Courses at SLU Hospital 

As a leader in trauma and critical care education, Saint Louis University Hospital provides clinical and research experience with health care providers throughout the country.

Specialized trauma verification programs, such as Advance Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Advance Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN), and the Trauma Nurse Core Course (TNCC), as well as the certification course, Trauma Nurse Specialist are offered at Saint Louis University Hospital.

Please contact the Trauma Office at 314-577-8773 or if you would like additional information.

Select a link below to learn about the exciting educational opportunities provided by Saint Louis University Hospital.

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Click here for registration form

ATLS® Program History

In February 1976, a tragedy occurred that would change the first hour of trauma care for patients. Dr. Jim Styner, and orthopedic surgeon, crashed his small plane into a cornfield in Nebraska. He and three of his children sustained critical injuries, one child sustained minor injuries, and his wife was killed instantly. The care that he and his family received was not adequate and it was evident there was an obvious lack of training for proper triage and injury treatment. The surgeon, recognizing how inadequate his treatment was stated," when I can provide better care in the field with limited resources that what my children and I received at the primary care facility, there is something wrong with the system and the system has to be changed."

Program Development

A new approach to caring for individuals suffering major, life-threatening injury premiered in 1978, the year of the first ATLS Course. In January 1980, the American College of Surgeons introduced the ATLS Course in the U.S. and abroad.  Canada joined the ATLS Program the following year. Several countries in Latin and South America joined the ACS Committee on Trauma in 1986 and introduced the ATLS Program in their region.  Now, the ATLS program is found in over 50 countries. Under the auspices of the ACS Military Committee on Trauma, the program has been conducted for U.S. military doctors in the United States and around the world.

"For more than a quarter century, the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma has taught the ATLS course to over 1 million doctors in more than 50 countries. ATLS has become the foundation of care for injured patients by teaching a common language and a common approach. The 8th edition was created using an international, multidisciplinary, and evidence-based approach. The result is an ATLS that is contemporary and meaningful in the global community."

John Fildes, MD, FACS
Chair, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma.

ATLS® Program Overview

Injured patients present a wide range of complex problems and the ATLS Student Course presents a concise approach to assessing and managing these patients. The course presents doctors with knowledge and techniques that are comprehensive and easily adapted to fit their needs.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) and its Committee on Trauma (COT) developed the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) Program for doctors; a systematic, concise training for the early care of trauma patients. The ATLS Program provides participants with a safe, reliable method for immediate management of the injured patient and the basic knowledge necessary to:

1.       Access the patient rapidly and accurately.
2.       Prioritize resuscitation and stabilization.
3.       Determine if the patient's needs exceed a facility's capacity.
4.       Arrange appropriately for the patient's inter-hospital transfer (who, what, when, and how).
5.       Assure that optimum care is provided and that the level of care does not deteriorate at any point during the evaluation, resuscitation, or transfer process.

For doctors who infrequently treat trauma, the ATLS course provides an easily remembered method for evaluating and treating the victim of a traumatic event. For those doctors who treat traumatic disease on a frequent basis, the ATLS course provides a scaffold for evaluation, treatment, education, and quality assurance- in short, a system of trauma care that is measurable, reproducible, and comprehensive.

Information About the ATLS® Program and Courses


  • Injury is precipitous and indiscriminate
  • The doctor who first attends to the injured patient has the greatest opportunity to impact outcome
  • The price of injury is excessive in dollars as well as human suffering


  • CME program developed by the ACS Committee on Trauma
  • One safe, reliable method for assessing and initially managing the trauma patient
  • Revised every 4 years to keep abreast of changes


  • Designed for doctors who care for injured patients
  • Standards for successful completion established for doctors
  • ACS verifies doctors' successful course completion


  • An organized approach for evaluation and management of seriously injured Patients
  • A foundation of common knowledge for all members of the trauma team
  • Applicable in both large urban centers and small rural emergency departments


  • Assess the patient's condition rapidly and accurately
  • Resuscitate and stabilize the patient according to priority
  • Determine if the patient's needs exceed a facility's capabilities
  • Arrange appropriately for the patient's definitive care
  • Ensure that optimum care is provided

Student Course:

  • 2-day course
  • Teaches medical core content in an interactive format
  • Hands-on skills sessions in simulated trauma settings
  • Successful completion status valid for 4 years from course date

Student Refresher Course:

  • Provides doctors the opportunity to maintain a current status
  • ½-day or 1-day course format
  • Content overview, triage scenarios, written and practical tests included
  • The American College of Surgeons (ACS) grants a 6-month grace period to facilitate the reverification process

Instructor Course:

  • Student Course/Refresher participants, identified as having instructor potential may advance to the Instructor Course within 3 years
  • Teaches the doctor how to teach the ATLS® Student Course
  • Eligibility to participate is limited to doctors in countries where the program has been Introduced and promulgated by the ACS


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME Credit:

The American College of Surgeons designates this educational activity for a maximum of * AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

*The maximum number of credits varies depending on the type of ATLS course.

Student and Instructor Re-verification:

If you have taken the Student Provider Course or have re-verified at the Student or Instructor level in the past four years, and are currently pursuing re-verification; please follow the steps as outlined in the current edition of the ATLS® Faculty Manual.

If you need further assistance, please contact the ATLS Office at 312/202-5160 or E-Mail at

Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN)   Click here for registration form

This two-day course is taught concurrently with the Advance Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course for physicians.  Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) is an advanced course designed for the registered nurse interested in increasing his/her knowledge in management of the multiple trauma patient. The ATCN course is taught concurrently with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS). The ATCN program has been operational for over 15 years and has an excellent record of offering a superb trauma educational program, and maintaining a positive collaboration with the ACS Committee on Trauma State Chapters. The ATCN program is currently being offered in numerous states as well as internationally.

The nurse participants audit the ATLS lectures. During the ATLS skill and testing stations, the nurses are separated from the physician group and directed through ATCN skill stations. ATCN Skill stations include:

  • Initial Assessment and Management
  • Airway and Ventilatory Management
  • Pediatric Trauma
  • Hemorrhagic Shock
  • Musculoskeletal & Spinal Trauma
  • Head Trauma

The Skill Stations are based on an interactive "hands-on: scenario-based approach" to adult education. The practical testing stations allow the ATCN students to demonstrate the application of ATLS and ATCN information on a moulaged patient. Participants receive both a ATCN manual and an ATLS manual.

The ATCN program verifies successful completion of the ATCN course and provides continuing education for completion of a course. ATCN and STN do not certify or credential nurses.

Trauma Nurse Specialist (TNS)   Click here for registration form

The Illinois Trauma Nurse Specialist course is a standardized program facilitated by TNS Course Coordinator (TNSCCs) at multiple hospitals in the bi-state area.  It is co-sponsored by the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of EMS and Highway Safety (IDPH). The program is presented at the graduate level focusing on care of the trauma patient across the continuum, including care in the prehospital, resuscitative, perioperative and intensive care phases with a strong emphasis on pathophysiology and multidisciplinary coordination.

The purpose of the Trauma Nurse Specialist Program is to increase the competency of nurses in the delivery of care to critically ill or injured patients.  Emergency and critical care nursing is based upon the nursing process.  This requires astute assessment skills, thorough knowledge of disease and trauma planning care, timely interventions and continuous evaluation.  This independent nursing judgment may mean the difference between life and death for critically ill or injured patients.

Upon successful completion of the Trauma Nurse Specialist Course, registrants will:

1.            Promptly and accurately assess and record data about the health status of       patients sustaining traumatic injuries

2.            Formulate goals of nursing care based on collected data

3.            Implement a plan of care within the Trauma Nurse Specialist’s scope of practice

4.            Evaluate the results of nursing and medical interventions by continued       reassessment of the patient’s status

5.            Modify the nursing care plan as the patient’s condition changes

Trauma Nurse Core Course (TNCC)  Click here for registration form

Trauma nursing as a discipline refers to the process and content of all the different roles nurses have in the care of the trauma patient. Knowledge is the core of any discipline. The purpose of TNCC is to present core-level knowledge, refine skills, and build a firm foundation in trauma nursing.

ENA developed and implemented the TNCC for national and international dissemination as a means of identifying a standardized body of trauma nursing knowledge. The TNCC (Provider) is a 2-day course designed to provide the learner with cognitive knowledge and psychomotor skills. The TNCC (Instructor) course is an 8-hour course designed to prepare nurses to become TNCC (Provider) Instructors. The nurse must have successfully completed the provider course prior to attending the Instructor course. The Instructor course emphasizes appropriate teaching strategies as well as correct evaluation methods.

The TNCC may be officially attended by registered nurses (RN's). Other health care providers may attend the course as observers. In order to maximize success in the TNCC (Provider), it is recommended that the participant have at least six months of clinical nursing experience in an emergency care setting. It is assumed that the course participant possesses generic nursing knowledge, has an understanding of emergency care terminology, and has familiarity with standard emergency equipment.

The TNCC Seventh Edition contains evidence-based content developed by trauma experts to reinforce and supplement the lectures and skill stations. It is a compilation of current trauma nursing standards and is a valuable resource for future reference.

TNCC (Provider) Course Content

  • The Trauma Nursing Core Course and Trauma Nursing
  • Teamwork and Trauma Care
  • Epidemiology, Biomechanics, Kinemateics and Mechanisms of Injury
  • Initial Assessment
  • Airway and Ventilation
  • Shock
  • Pain
  • Brain, Cranial and Maxillofacial Trauma
  • Ocular Trauma
  • Thoracic and Neck Trauma
  • Abdominal and Pelvic Trauma
  • Spinal Cord and Vertebral Column Trauma
  • Musculoskeletal Trauma
  • Surface and Burn Trauma
  • Special Populations: Pregnant, Pediatric, Bariatric Interpersonal Violence and Older Adult Trauma Patients
  • Disaster Management
  • Psychosocial Aspects of Trauma Care
  • Transition of Care for the Trauma Patient
  • Post Resuscitation Care in the Emergency Department

Five Online Modules with Live Links to Additional Information

These interactive modules allow students to apply what they learn and receive immediate feedback. The modules are a complete case study process-taking the nurses through an entire sequence of care. Online learning allows nurses to learn at their own pace and refer back to information at any time.

Successful completion of the course includes scoring 80% or greater on the multiple choice examination and demonstrating all critical steps and 70% of the total points in the evaluated skill station the Trauma Nursing Process.

TNCC Verification
Verification will be issued from ENA upon successful completion of the evaluated psychomotor skill station and the multiple choice examination. Expiration of verification will occur four years from the last day of the month in which the card was issued. ENA does not offer certification on any level as related to completion of this course.

Continuing Nursing Education Contact Hours
The Emergency Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Contact hours are awarded based on hours attended, regardless of performance during evaluation.