Office of Rural Health and Primary Care - emergency models

Successful Model for Rural and Underserved Communities

Trauma Nursing Core Course

Target Population: Hospital nursing staff that cares for injured patients

Geographic Area: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau

Description: Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services improved the quality of regional trauma care through an education outreach plan for rural nursing staffs.

It was difficult for nurses to attend the Trauma Nursing Core Course training offered by various organizations statewide because of distance, time and expense. Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services (GNWEMS) applied for and received a grant from the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. This ensured offering at least three classes, which grew to be five classes. The little extras are often provided by the hosting hospital; since they will not incur travel time and expense for their nurses they usually provide lunches, A/V supplies, and free room space.

In addition, Trauma Nursing Core Course meets the nursing educational requirements of the new statewide trauma system. By making this course more accessible and affordable, GNWEMS helps hospitals that want to participate in the state trauma system address the training criteria for their nurses. Not only are more nurses receiving excellent trauma training and education, but their hospitals are in a better position to participate in voluntary trauma system.

Every four years the program is in the Roseau, Bemidji, Mahnomen or Thief River Falls areas. Tom Vanderwal worked with Terry Bergeron of Mayo Clinic and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and the Trauma Nursing Core Course to bring the course with mannequins and textbooks to this 12-county area.

Plans for the Future: The GNWEMS regional program has had numerous requests to hold the training again. The Board plans to offer a standard stipend up to a specified maximum number of students per hospital. Several hospitals have created a rotation to host the class, which the Board encourages.

Contact : Tom Vanderwal, Greater Northwest Emergency Medical Services, (218) 759-8915 or

A printable version of this model (PDF: 26KB/1pg)

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Updated Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 02:16PM