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  1. Case, Melinda RN

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2013 marks the 15th anniversary of the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN), formal acceptance for oversight over the Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) course. I took a stroll-down memory lane with Rich Henn and Betsy Seislove to gather some background on this grassroots program from Arizona to its current well-recognized and respected course, firmly aligned with both the physician program of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and the weight it holds with the American College of Surgeons-Committee on Trauma.


As a former "Zonie," the polite term that Californians have for the summer influx of vacationers from Arizona, I was familiar with ATCN and its background in the trauma educational arena. Having Rich Henn in our midst was always thought to be a source of pride for our Arizona Trauma Nursing Network. I was able to have a conversation with him not too long ago and review how this course came to be a prominent trauma nursing educational opportunity.


As early as 1983, Dr John Stafford from the Arizona Department of Health Services expressed concerns about the lack of uniform training in trauma for health care providers, especially nurses. The ATLS course was initially rolled out in Baltimore, Massachusetts, and was relatively new as well. Nurses were allowed to audit the lectures but could not interact in the skill stations. A subcommittee in Arizona was appointed to develop a program of trauma nurse training. A course was developed that provided 6 skill stations in trauma care for the nurse and, a loose leaf binder with supporting documentation in the care of the trauma patient. Under the stewardship of Keitha Reed, Pat Hensley, Heidi Hotz, and Stephanie Lush from 1983 to 1998, this course was revamped, renamed, revised, and renewed multiple times.


Here are just a few significant timelines:


1984: First course taught at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona: ATLS for Nurses. (This title was later changed because of concerns of copyright infringement with ATLS for Physicians.)


1996: First road trip to Southern California to teach Arizona Trauma Nurse Course at the request of Connie Stalcup, currently at Mission Valley Hospital in Mission Viejo, California.


1998: A contingent of Michigan trauma nurses requested the course and ATCN was formally accepted by the STN.


1999: The first international course: Hong Kong.


October 2000: The American College of Surgeons-Committee on Trauma, under David Hoyt, MD, sanctioned ATCN for trauma nurse educational requirement with the Verification Review Committee.


Annual STN Conference 2002: The course as it is taught today was rolled out. New updates are expected in the later part of 2012.



Currently, ATCN course is taught in 28 states and 16 international locations. Singapore and France are soon to be on board.


I love teaching ATCN, it provides me with an honor to assist other nurses become more proficient in their skills and knowledge toward trauma care. The networking and collaboration with the physicians is essential for us as a trauma community and it better serves our patients and families.


I have been privileged and honored to be part of this fantastic program for the past 10 years and the opportunities that I have had to meet some wonderful nurses and physicians has been as they say "priceless. (Elizabeth Seislove, Immediate Past President, Society of Trauma Nurses)


Join the celebration throughout 2013, and at our Annual Conference in April 2013 in Las Vegas. Be a part of this rich history. My thanks to all who helped me tell our story.


The STN Annual Conference returns to its roots for the first time in several years. Las Vegas is the home of my trauma center, so I hope to see you all here in 2013 for a wonderful opportunity to learn, network, and spend some time shopping, sightseeing, and if you are feeling lucky; place a bet or 2! We look forward to seeing you all in 2013.