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Information for ATLS Course 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.

Becoming an ATLS Instructor

The first stage in becoming an ATLS Instructor is successfully completing the ATLS Instructor course. After this, your status will change to Instructor Candidate.

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.

If successful, we would strongly recommend that the first ATLS provider course you then direct should be supported by an experienced Course Director working as a member of the faculty.

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

  • Lecturing
  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching skills station

At the end of the course, the faculty will decide whether to award you the full ATLS Instructor status and will notify RCS of their decision.

The course director will let you know the outcome. If you are successful, you’ll then receive your ATLS Instructor certificate.

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.

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:

  • Lecturing
  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching skills station

You will also need to complete an MCQ, scoring 28/40 or higher.

At the end of the course, the course director completes the Recertifying Instructor form (held by all centres teaching ATLS) and sends it to the RCS team. We will then send you an updated ATLS Instructor certificate.

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 every two years) 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.

Teaching requirements for ATLS Instructors

ATLS Instructors need to teach at least six courses during each four-year period of Instructor status.

You must not leave more than two years between teaching courses.

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 on 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.

If successful, we would strongly recommend that the first time you will then direct an ATLS provider course you should be directly supported by an instructor with an experienced course director working as a member of faculty.

Teaching on the ATLS Instructor course

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

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

ATLS 9th edition

The 9th edition of the ATLS programme was introduced in the UK at the beginning of 2013.

You can update to the 9th edition on the American College of Surgeons website.

UK ATLS instructors do not have an ATLS ID number.

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