Trauma Tips for Non-Trauma EDs

Andrea Perry
Andrea Perry

Most U.S. hospitals are not classified as trauma centers, yet trauma is one of the top reasons people visit an emergency department.

Nationwide, one in five ED visits are trauma-related, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We are all going to take care of trauma patients, no matter which hospital we work at, and we need emergency nurses to know they do have the skills and they do have the equipment to get the job started,” said Andrea Perry, whose Emergency Nursing 2021 Encore session, Find Your Inner Trauma Llama: Tips and Tools for Trauma Care at the Non-Trauma ED, will launch on Wednesday.

In her presentation, Perry explains how non-trauma centers can better prepare for trauma cases.

“The goal of the course is to review core trauma pathophysiology concepts, talk about how we can build a trauma alert at our facility even though we’re not a trauma center — because that’s going to be the best way to get rapid care to our patients — and then how to care for the patient once we activate that alert,” she said.

A pervasive mindset among some emergency nurses is that they don’t know how to take care of a trauma patient if they didn’t complete trauma training. Perry disagrees.

“If you can keep the basics in your mind — I don’t want this patient to get cold, I don’t want them to bleed to death — and have some basic tools to be able to stop those high-risk things, you are able to take care of those patients,” said Perry, who has more than 15 years of ED and trauma center experience. “Specialty training is always going to help, but do you have the knowledge and do you have the supplies? You can still do a good job and get this patient to where they need to go.”

Perry, a staff nurse and sepsis coordinator at Sutter Amador Hospital, a rural hospital in California pursuing trauma designation, previously spent a decade at a Level II trauma center, where she worked stretcherside and as an educator. These roles showed her how trauma response works, and she gained an understanding of the rationale behind policies and standardized responses.

Her presentation includes insights and recommendations for obtaining hospital team buy-in while building a trauma alert.

Stretcherside nurses will learn how to care for trauma patients and administrators will learn how to develop a trauma response and obtain the necessary supplies to be ready when a trauma patient arrives in the ED.

“We’re all going to take care of a trauma patient, whether they miss the trauma in the field or somebody drops a person off at our front door,” Perry said. “I’m trying to decrease the anxiety [for non-trauma ED nurses] because whenever you get that critical patient, especially if it’s something you’re not as familiar with, the anxiety goes through the roof. Just being able to bring it down a few notches makes such a difference.”

Encore sessions will be available on the EN21 meeting platform Oct. 13-Jan. 31.

Registration, which includes access to EN21 On-demand content, is available for $199 until Oct. 20, after which the registration price increases to $250. Registration closes Dec. 1.