Improving Trauma Care in Africa

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Abstract

Bringing the first Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) provider and instructor courses to Zimbabwe was the initial step in an educational partnership spanning more than 8,000 miles. Zimbabwe is a South African country with limited health care services, severe financial restraints, and a shortage of health care professionals. All of these barriers made our goal of bringing an organized and systematic approach to trauma care even more important. The nurses of Zimbabwe were aware that their patients were not receiving “best practice” care, which made them passionate for education, with strict enforcement of standardized delivery of care. The ATCN course provided the foundation for building a comprehensive approach to trauma care and creating a systematic and rapid initial assessment process during primary treatment of injured patients. Collaboration with the American College of Surgeons for the ATLS component was critical to the success and sustainability. The ultimate goal was to reduce morbidity and mortality from traumatic injuries and ultimately provide a sustained continuing education program to nurses countrywide. In November 2015, the Zimbabwe Nursing Council certified St. Philip's as its official National Nurse Trauma Training Center, the first and only center of its kind in Africa. As of October 2016, a total of 64 nurses have completed the ATCN courses and 9 have been checked off as ATCN faculty. Our goal was realized through the cooperation of many individuals. The nurses of Africa received the training crucial to delivering an excellent standard of care and ultimately saving lives.

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