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As a new PA in a level three trauma ER, I would like some advice from those ATLS certified. I have been working for 6 months now and have some CME money to spend. I realize either option will be more education regardless, but would you recommend taking an ATLS course or attending an EM conference at this point in my career? Thanks!

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I would be more inclined to do the conference. It will give you a broader education on things you would see in the ED, and you can participate in workshops to add some skills to your toolbox. ATLS is great, no doubt. I think at this point in your career the conference will give you more bang for your buck.

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the full course is 2-3 days, the recert is 1 day.

I took atls for the first time as a student right before my trauma surgery rotation. it covers a lot of adv. procedures that are hard to learn elsewhere. it includes lab experience. chest tubes, crichs, pericardiocentesis, central lines, etc

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The real question is as an ER PA will you be covering the level traumas or will the surgery team be covering the level traumas? If your not a direct part of the trauma team then i would vouch that you would get more usable knowledge from the em workshop

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The real question is as an ER PA will you be covering the level traumas or will the surgery team be covering the level traumas? If your not a direct part of the trauma team then i would vouch that you would get more usable knowledge from the em workshop

probably true. at one facility I work at the trauma team gets all the "level 1 traumas" which are things obviously going to the o.r. and the er staff(including pa's) gets all the level two traumas, many of which later require a full activation to the o.r. after stabilization. the level 2 's are more subtle and may be nothing or may be a big deal disguised in a poor medic report and 1 set of stable v.s.

A recent level 2 trauma pt of mine was a drug dealer worked over with a baseball bat by someone robbing him. he was high on heroin before they beat the crap out of him. made for an interesting eval.

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Thank guys! I think I will choose ATLS now and attend a conference/workshop early next year when I have more CME money. The coordinator for ATLS said I will do all required procedures and earn a certificate like every one else; so no standing back and observing, thank goodness! Yes, surgery covers some traumas in my ER. After the original post, i was working a shift....ER doc was away from the unit. Trauma walked in...guy completely cut off his own testicles! I ordered the obvious: T&C, blood, fluids and paged surgery. It was a pretty cool thing to see. I'm almost positive something like that won't cross my ER again for a long time! My trauma "high" quickly ended when the guy two rooms over complained because we were taking too long to treat his dental pain :/

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My trauma "high" quickly ended when the guy two rooms over complained because we were taking too long to treat his dental pain :/

I was intubating someone a while ago, cpr in progress, etc, and a pt with chronic back pain started complaining about the wait from the door.

I refused to see her. I was so mad I knew if I saw her I would say something that would get me fired so I left her for the oncoming doc......5 hrs later....

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ATLS later

 

 

honestly if you are going into the ER and have not worked pre hospital SOMEHOW you should go back and get a first responder or EMT card. YEah, not going to help you pass PANRE or anything else for that matter, but it really helpful to know what the guys and gals in the field go through.....

 

I would stick to general medicine stuff right now for CME - learn the basics, then next year do ATLS (do ACLS now)

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This may or may not have slipped out of my mouth once or twice "What's your EMERGENCY today?" I've gotten over it and have accepted that these people will never get it. They also keep me in business :)

one of my attendings routinely says " so what is your two thousand dollar emergency today?" to which folks who are paying say "what do you mean" and he explains that is a typical er visit cost. those who aren't paying just ignore it.

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