Elearning Modules


Introduction to the Trauma Patient


College of Medicine

Document Type

Instructional Material

Publication Date



This module was developed for the College of Medicine first and second year medical student Integrated Clinical Experience, ICE, lecture series. Its intended goal is to transform the ICE lectures from a traditional format into a flipped classroom. Because these lectures are in addition to the core medical student curriculum and typically led by clinical faculty, they provide the opportunity to introduce a novel educational concept. The desired objectives are enhanced student autonomy with self-study, clinical application of basic science principles, increased team-based and critical thinking during lecture periods, and improved integration of lecture content into clinical practice.

Trauma patient evaluation and management provides a unique clinical environment where multi-disciplinary teamwork and systematic, repeated evaluation is essential to treatment of acute, life-threatening conditions. Physicians from emergency medicine, surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, anesthesia and neurosurgery must all work in cooperation to thoroughly and quickly evaluate patients for frequently occult, potentially devastating injuries. This also requires supervision of multiple ancillary staff such as nursing, technicians and EMS personnel. Physicians leading a trauma evaluation must oversee multiple simultaneous actions and respond immediately to abnormalities in a patient exam, vital signs, lab results and radiographic imaging to avoid clinical decompensation and potentially irreversible morbidity and mortality.

This environment exemplifies several critical concepts in clinical medicine in a high-acuity, fast-paced, dynamic setting that is thrilling and very memorable for students during their early, formative years of medical education. This module was developed to maximize the opportunity the trauma evaluation holds for clinical application of human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and procedural skills. It was created with PowerPoint and Articulate, and included custom illustrations, voice narration and a simulated trauma patient video. It is concluded with several multiple-choice questions that underscore key concepts and can be used to assess retention and ensure module completion.

After students had completed the module on their own, classroom time was used by clinical faculty to present several patient scenarios using simulation mannequins. Patients’ initial exam and vital signs were altered in response to student actions for a given chief complaint. Student attendance and participation was a record high and both the module and simulations were very well received.

Moving forward with utilization of this module, pretest as well as postmodule completion tests will be provided, and we anticipate further methods of measuring student retention and application of basic principles in clinical practice. There are currently several other ICE topics we hope to develop modules for, that will be equally well-received and a valuable use of the limited hours of a medical student. In our case, the trauma module certainly met its goal of a flipped classroom format improving lecture attendance and use of class time to practice team problem-solving, critical thinking and improved patient application of medical education.