Objective: The lecture series portion of the Advanced Trauma Life Support Course is taught by full-time surgical faculty as part of the orientation process for an 8-week required surgery clerkship for third-year medical students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of this lecture series on student learning and retention.
Materials and methods: A pre- and post-lecture series test and control group design was used. Complete data were obtained on 299 students in 15 consecutive rotations.
Measurements and main results: Those students who attended the lecture series achieved a significantly higher score on the post-lecture series test than did the control group (70% vs. 53%). The long-term retention of the material, as measured by a delayed post-lecture series test 7-weeks after the lectures occurred, was high.
Conclusions: The data indicate that the ATLS lecture series alone results in gains in knowledge for junior medical students. We believe that these data indicate that ATLS lectures should be adopted as a minimum requirement for teaching trauma principles in all medical schools.