Learners' perspectives on Stop the Bleed: a course to improve survival during mass casualty events

Trauma Surg Acute Care Open. 2019 Jul 26;4(1):e000331. doi: 10.1136/tsaco-2019-000331. eCollection 2019.


Background: In response to increasing mass casualty events nationwide, the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma developed a bleeding control course (Stop the Bleed) to teach hemorrhage control techniques to laypeople. There is a high level of public interest in learning about injury mitigation, but no study evaluating learners' perspectives after bleeding control training. We sought to evaluate the didactic value of the bleeding control course by analyzing learners' feedback within the framework of adult learning theory.

Study design: We analyzed a total of 720 open-ended surveys from 20 regional bleeding control courses taught by a level I trauma center team during a 9-month period. Major themes expressed by learners were organized into a categorical code structure. Keywords identified from free text responses were used to code comments into subthemes. These themes were organized into categories within the framework of adult learning theory.

Results: The two primary themes identified from learners' feedback were empowerment and practicality. Respondents reported an overwhelmingly positive experience; 97% of participants would recommend the course to others. The course design (lecture, didactics and hands-on activities) was cited as a positive element of the course. Participants felt empowered and prepared to act and help others during mass emergency events. Actionable items for future course improvement were identified.

Conclusion: Themes from learners' feedback fit within the framework of adult learning theory. These findings highlight the bleeding control course as an empowering experience and a practical and engaging approach to teaching hemorrhage mitigation to the public.

Level of evidence: Level V, qualitative analysis.

Keywords: hemorrhage control; mass casualty; public education.