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Information for ATLS Instructors

ATLS® is a world-renowned multidisciplinary course, teaching a systematic process of trauma care for patients with life-threatening injuries.

There are 2,270 ATLS® instructors throughout the UK. Each one plays a vital role in the national course programme, which delivers over 270 courses every year.

Updated Covid-19 Guidance

We are pleased to let you know that following the gap in ATLS provision between March and September 2020 and the reduced offer from September 2020, ATLS courses have been running at pre-pandemic levels since March 2021.

The pandemic had impacted access to courses and the ability to complete the instructor candidacy, to maintain teaching frequency and recertify your status.

We hope that the guidance below will help you with planning your future ATLS activities.

Status ending in 2018 or 2019 – eligibility to recertify is based on the date you last taught; the gap in teaching between your last course and the course you will recertify on must be less than three years. If eligible, the deadline to recertify is 10th March 2022 – this is based on the date courses stopped running due to Covid in March 2020. 

Status ending in 2020 one-year extension to Instructor status which now ends in 2021.

Status ending in 2021 one year grace period to recertify if you teach regularly; the table below illustrates different options depending on your instructor status expiry date and the last time you taught on ATLS

Status

 

Status expired and gap between last course and next course more than three years

Attend Provider course as a participant

Teach as an IC

Status expired and gap between last course and next course less than three years

Eligible to recertify

Status current and gap between last course and next course more than three years

Teach as an IC

Status current and gap between last course and next course less than three years

Teach as faculty

Frequency of teaching

You are required to teach once per year and a minimum of 4 courses in a 4 year period of your instructor status; you must not leave more than two years between teaching courses

Due to the Covid pandemic, we changed these rules temporarily; you are required to teach on a minimum of 4 courses in a 5 year period and the gap between courses can be up to 3 years for any courses taking place up to March 2021. As of March 2021, ATLS provision is at pre-pandemic levels therefore faculty are required to teach at least once every 2 years from March 2021 and a minimum of 4 courses in a 4 year period of their instructor status.

Instructor candidates

Stop the clock for 1 year between March 2020 and March 2021 plus 6 months grace period if necessary. For example, instructor candidate status expired on 01/05/2020 therefore you have time until 01/05/2021 plus 6 months grace period to complete the instructor candidacy.

Becoming an ATLS Instructor

The first stage in becoming an ATLS® Instructor is successfully completing the
 course. After this, your status will change to instructor candidate. Only providers who have been nominated as having instructor potential can apply for the ATLS® Instructor course.

To go from candidate to instructor, you’ll need to then teach on the ATLS® Provider course within 12 months of completing your ATLS® Instructor course.

During the course, you will be assessed by the faculty while you run these sessions:

  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching scenario station

The course director will let you know the outcome. If you are successful, you’ll gain ATLS® instructor status.

ATLS instructor status and the recertification process

Your status as an ATLS® Instructor lasts for four years from your instructor candidate course completion date or your last recertification date.

 

To maintain your instructor status, you’ll need to recertify within six months of your instructor status expiring. You will receive an automated reminder from the RCS six months before the expiry date of your instructor status.

Recertification involves having your teaching skills assessed while teaching on an ATLS® Provider course as a member of faculty. The course director will assess your abilities in:

  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching scenario station
  • Delivering an interactive discussion (if applicable)

You will also need to complete an MCQ, scoring 30/40 or higher.

At the end of the course, the course director completes the recertifying instructor form (held by all centres teaching ATLS®) and submits it to the RCS team.

Please note that recertifying instructors may not direct or co-direct courses.

How to reinstate lapsed instructor status

If your instructor status has lapsed, you can reinstate your status:

  • If you teach regularly (at least once per year) but your ATLS® instructor status has lapsed, you will need to recertify at the next available ATLS® Provider course
  • If you haven’t taught for over two years but your instructor status is still in date, you will need to teach ATLS® as an instructor candidate
  • If you have not taught ATLS® for two years or longer and your ATLS® instructor status has expired, you will need to retake the ATLS® Provider course as a candidate and then teach as an instructor candidate within one year of the provider course completion
  • Additional grace period for recertification, instructor candidacy completion and frequency of teaching applies to instructors returning from maternity leave

Teaching requirements for ATLS Instructors

ATLS® Instructors need to teach a minimum of four courses during each four-year period of instructor status.

We strongly recommend that instructors teach six courses in their first four-year period of ATLS® instructor status.

You must not leave more than two years between teaching courses. Additional grace period for recertification, instructor candidacy completion and frequency of teaching applies to instructors returning from maternity leave.

Please note that the ATLS® Steering Group may take remedial action in the case of any issues with Instructors, and they reserve the right to withdraw instructor status in particular circumstances.

Becoming an ATLS course director

Prospective ATLS® course directors must be experienced ATLS® Instructors who have taught at least eight ATLS® Provider courses.

Once you have been appointed as a trainee director, you’ll need to co-direct an ATLS® course with an experienced director – someone who has directed an ATLS® course within a year of the date of the course you will co-direct.

We strongly recommend that you should be supported by an experienced course director who acts as a faculty member on your first course as course director.

Teaching on the ATLS Instructor course

Are you an ATLS® Course Director or an experienced Instructor who has taught at least six ATLS® Provider courses? If so, we would like to invite you to teach the ATLS® Instructor course.

Please get in touch if you are interested: education@rcseng.ac.uk

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