Background: Junior hospital doctors are often involved in the early management of major trauma. The present study assesses the access to trauma education and clinical trauma exposure and skills of junior doctors at a major trauma service. Methods: A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed to all resident medical officers (pre-registrar level) at a major trauma service. The questionnaire explored the quantity of exposure to major trauma, access to trauma education, self-perceived confidence and experience in basic trauma resuscitative procedures and future career aspirations. Results: A 70% response rate was achieved; 11% were Basic Surgical Trainees. Mean length of time post-graduation was 2.5 years. Fourteen per cent of respondents had completed the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course; another 14% were on the waiting list for the ATLS course. Sixty-four per cent of respondents had attended fewer than five adult major trauma resuscitations in their entire career; 80% had never witnessed a major paediatric trauma resuscitation. Personal confidence in inserting a chest drain, management of cervical spine and airway was reported by 20%, 36% and 63% of respondents, respectively. The majority of respondents had never performed any of these procedures. Basic Surgical Trainees did not feel more confident in performing these procedures. Two-thirds (58%) of respondents nominated a future career aspiration which would potentially require involvement in the early management of major trauma. Conclusions: Despite working in a major trauma service, the studied cohort of resident medical officers, including Basic Surgical Trainees, have minimal exposure to major trauma, restricted access to trauma education and limited self-perceived confidence and experience in basic trauma resuscitative procedures. © 2007 Surgeon.
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