Explain the different trauma level designations to me please.

  1. 0
    I have seen mention of Level 1 trauma ER, Level 3 trauma ER.

    Could someone explain the differences to me please. I plan on doing some travel contracts in the US (I am in Canada) and in order to request what type of assignment I will want I need to know these different designations.

    I currently work in a fairly small ER serving a population of just under 100,000, not sure how many ER visits/year we get. My worry is that I will land some place over my head, which won't benefit me, the patients or the hospital.

    Some of you sound like you work in some really interesting places. I have to say that my reason for travelling is to get a bit of experience some place new while enjoying a new place for a few weeks.
  2. 11 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Level 1 trauma is where the big boys go. Level 1 means that they have all types of surgeons in hospital 24/7. In this type of hospital you will get lots and lots of trauma.
    Level 3 is your regular ER pretty much. You will see lots of general medical stuff including: chest pain, codes, strokes... You will prob see a lot more of this at a level 1 center.
    That's the basic gist of it someone else should be able to fill you in further.
  4. 0
    Quote from Pepperlady
    I have seen mention of Level 1 trauma ER, Level 3 trauma ER.

    Could someone explain the differences to me please. I plan on doing some travel contracts in the US (I am in Canada) and in order to request what type of assignment I will want I need to know these different designations.

    I currently work in a fairly small ER serving a population of just under 100,000, not sure how many ER visits/year we get. My worry is that I will land some place over my head, which won't benefit me, the patients or the hospital.

    Some of you sound like you work in some really interesting places. I have to say that my reason for travelling is to get a bit of experience some place new while enjoying a new place for a few weeks.
    Wiki in this case provides a pretty good overview:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trauma_center

    Level 1 has in house anesthesia and surgery. Rapid availability of all other specialties. Must have a research component.

    Level 2 has in house anesthesia and surgery (or within rapid call times depending on the state). Other specialties available. Does not have to have a research component.

    Level 3 surgery and anesthesia available within a designated time limit. May not have all specialties available.

    Level 4 usually rural centers that have some capability for resuscitation before transferring to a higher level of care. May have some surgical capability but lacks most specialty services.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  5. 0
    Level 1 trauma centers also have surgical residencies, teaching hospital. in addition to what has already been stated
  6. 1
    Quote from lpnflorida
    Level 1 trauma centers also have surgical residencies, teaching hospital. in addition to what has already been stated
    Actually no. That's a common misperception. Most are housed in academic centers, but there are several that are not (and have no surgical residency). There is a requirement for research but that can be met many different ways.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
    Last edit by core0 on Jan 12, '09 : Reason: spelling
    lpnflorida likes this.
  7. 0
    17 17-5 The Level I trauma center provides a continuous rotation in trauma surgery for senior residents that is part of an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education- accredited program in any of the following disciplines: general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, or neurosurgery; or supports an acute care surgery fellowship consistent with the educational requirements of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. SEE FAQ


    as taken from the American College of Surgeons.
    http://www.facs.org/trauma/vrc1.html
  8. 0
    Quote from lpnflorida
    17 17-5 The Level I trauma center provides a continuous rotation in trauma surgery for senior residents that is part of an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education- accredited program in any of the following disciplines: general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, or neurosurgery; or supports an acute care surgery fellowship consistent with the educational requirements of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. SEE FAQ


    as taken from the American College of Surgeons.
    http://www.facs.org/trauma/vrc1.html
    Interesting. I can think of one program off hand that does not meet this requirement and is on the level 1 list. They did get their designation before this rule change so may be grandfathered in.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  9. 0
    To add to the fellow posts, as someone who works in the ER, that any time you can be around a Level 1 or Level 2 trauma center it will be worth it. It is also important to see first hand what defines a Level 1 or Level 2 according to the facility in which you are at (i.e. mechanism of injury, vital signs, etc.). I have found different classifications of Levels depending upon facility. Either way, your experience will grow and those who are veterans in the field in handling traumas will only benefit you more.

    Good luck!
  10. 0
    You can look through the definitions here:
    http://www.facs.org/trauma/verifivisitoutcomes.html

    I think that the biggie for level 1 facilities is to have neurosurgery available 24/7 (but I'm not positive about this one; its a hard one to meet due to neurosurgeon shortages). To be a level 1 center, your facility must be active in research too.

    You can always take a TNCC class (Trauma Nursing Core Course, which is offered through many hospitals) to gain more info so you feel more comfortable with trauma care. In reality, any facility can get anything through their doors (I once had family drive a pt to the ED with a fatal GSW to the neck; I was working a level 3 facility and the pt needed level 1 trauma care and should have had his chest cracked along with cardiothoracic surgeons ready to go at bedside). So, keep that in mind!

    Also, no reputable level 1 facility would throw you into a trauma without proper training. Many level 1 centers have a dedicated trauma team; you might be asked to jump in for the experience, but you wouldn't be running the show.
  11. 0
    Quote from kmoonshine
    Also, no reputable level 1 facility would throw you into a trauma without proper training. Many level 1 centers have a dedicated trauma team; you might be asked to jump in for the experience, but you wouldn't be running the show.
    Indeed. I doubt a Level 1 facility would keep its accreditation for very long if this were happening.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top