Support courses for all medical health care professionals

European Trauma Course

Course description

The European Trauma Course is a training program for highly qualified health care professionals who are involved in management of acute trauma cases. It was developed by the European Trauma Course Organisation on behalf of the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the European society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC), the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery (ESTES) and the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) and has been organized throughout Europe since 2008. ETC is organized in the Netherlands by the Dutch ETC foundation, in collaboration with Amsterdam UMC and Erasmus MC. The goal of ETC is to teach a standardized team approach to trauma patients. During the course, a multidisciplinary group of instructors will guide you through 30 trauma admission scenarios, each of which has specific learning objectives, covering the broad spectrum of trauma care. The small groups in which you will spend almost your entire time during the course are set up to resemble trauma teams in a shock room environment. Teams include physicians as well as trauma support practitioners (TSPs), from different specialties. You will be learning how to function within a team, both as a team leader (physicians) as well as a team member (physicians and TSPs). Between scenarios you will be able to swap roles to experience all the different positions within a trauma team. In order to bring the scenarios to life you will need to play your role and join in actively. It is important to thoroughly read the manual before you attend the course. Unlike in other Life Support Courses there are no repetition lectures.

Physicians and Trauma Support Practitioners

The ETC is accessible to all (para)medical or nursing professionals caring for trauma patients in the first hours of their hospital admission. They are enrolled in a physician or a Trauma Support Practicioner (TSP) role. Although the course manual and preparation is the same,  roles during the course may vary between these two types of participancts though.

Physicians need to have previous experience in taking care of trauma patients in a shockroom environment. Typically but certainly not exclusively, physicians come from a background of trauma surgery, (prehospital) emergency medicine, anaesthesia, intensive care or a combination of the above. During the scenario’s, you will be assigned all possible roles in the team; both team member, and thereby responsible for part of the resuscitation (e.g. airway or circulatory management), as well as team leader. It is recommended that a physician has at least 1-2 years of clinical experience before attending ETC. Besides the scenario’s, specific skills will be trained during the course as well, such as for example performing a surgical airway. After completing the course successfully, you will receive a certificate through CoSy. This certificate will be valid for five years.

Trauma Support Practitioners are all other practitioners taking care of trauma patients. Typically, but not exclusively, they come from a background in nursing or paramedicine with a focus on emergency and/or critical care. Examples include (but are not limited to) emergency department nurses, anesthesia technicians and operating department practitioners (ODPs). During the course, their main focus is on supporting the team members from within the team. This includes attaching monitoring, placing phone calls, mobilizing resources and assisting the team leader by documenting everything. TSPs can and will also be rotated through other team member positions in which they are primarily responsible for part of the resuscitation. After completing the course successfully, they will receive a certificate from the Dutch ETC foundation.

If you are in doubt about whether the physician or TSP role within the ETC suits you best, or whether you have enough experience to attend a ETC, feel free to contact us at

Course format

The ETC will run for 2 ½ days and is attended by 36 participants (24 physicians and 12 TSPs). Typically, between 12 and 18 instructors will be present to guide the scenarios.

Over the first two days, the course contains two interactive lectures, a faculty demonstration and 9 workshops with a total of 29 scenarios. On the third (half) day, thee more scenarios include a summative assessment for the physicians. There is no written theoretical assessment.

The workshops are the core element of a learning subject and address specific relevant topics and together cover the entire spectrum of acute trauma care. In each workshop, six participants (four physicians and two TSPs) and three instructors will be present.

Within a workshop, learning is contained within three or four “Trauma Admission Scenario’s”, which all have predetermined learning objectives that include both psychomotor skills, medical knowledge and techniques as well as teamwork and non-technical issues frequently encountered during trauma admission scenario’s.

The workshops will be adapted to reflect different practices (for example cervical collar, blocks and backboard versus a vacuum mattress) as well as different patterns of injury (penetrating trauma versus farm accidents or hypothermia). The ETC is not dogmatic and we regard each course as a shared learning experience. We therefore very much appreciate your contribution and invite you to come forward and share your expertise with us.


In order to pass the course firstly you must be present during all workshops. In line with modern educational principles, participant assessment is both formative and summative.

Formative assessment

Each participant will be continuously assessed and marked during each scenario within all workshops, with respect to specific clinical and team management criteria. The latter takes into account team member skills (such as knowing your role within the team, performing your tasks during the scenarios, being helpful to colleagues, being proactive and communicating well) and team leader skills where applicable (leadership, overview, task allocation, decision making, empathy, clear communication and being able to listen to your team). After each scenario there will be a debriefing, including direct feedback to the participants.

Summative assessment

On the final day of the course each physician takes a role in three practice scenarios. This is followed by a summative assessment, which focuses on participant’s team leader performance, team member performance, overall knowledge of the algorithms and practical skills. Each TSPs also take a role in these scenarios, their assessment will focus on team member performance as well as overall knowledge of the algorithms.

A pass grade or higher, as defined by predetermined criteria in both the formative and summative assessments, is required to successfully complete the course. Unsuccessful participants are allowed one further summative assessment, based on an unseen scenario.


The European Trauma Course has been recognized by three major European
medical societies: ESAIC, EuSEM and ESTES. For Dutch participants, the course has been recognized by the Nederlandse
Vereniging voor Anesthesie (NVA)
, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Spoedeisende Hulp Artsen (NVSHA), the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Heelkunde (NVvH) and the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Intensive Care (NVIC).

The amount of CME credits for the course has been set to 15 hours for Dutch
candidates. The exact ammoung of hourse credited in different countries may

Course language

The Dutch ETC foundation organizes courses within the Netherlands. The primary course language will be English though, as we strive to have an international faculty for each course as well as to welcome international candidates. Typically, Dutch, German and French can also be spoken by one or more of the instructors.

More information

For more information on the history of the ETC, as well as the educational principles underpinning the ETC, please visit