Trauma Team Roles
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
First responders on the scene, provide highly-skilled, lifesaving interventions and rapid transport to the trauma center
Neurosurgeons manage patients with head or spine injuries.
Orthopaedic surgeons manage fractures, joint injuries or spine injuries.
Surgical specialists are often involved in caring for trauma patients.
Medical specialists may assist in caring for the patient: anesthesiology, neurology, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, geriatric medicine, and infectious diseases along with other specialists.
Emergency Medicine Physicians – Promptly triage the patient based on communication with EMS. Function as the team leader until the arrival of the attending trauma surgeon. Provide initial management and emergency interventions. Manage the patient airway as necessary.
Trauma Surgeons – Oversee all aspects of patient’s care throughout the hospitalization and after discharge.
Surgical Residents – Provide day-to-day care and patient management under the supervision of an attending trauma surgeon while continuing their education in the surgical residency program.
Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners – Provide day-to-day care and patient management under the supervision of an attending trauma surgeon.
Specialists from plastic surgery, ophthalmology, urology, otolaryngology and oral and maxillofacial surgery can be consulted to manage specific injuries.
Registered nurses who work in the Emergency Trauma Center, Surgical Trauma Unit, Operating Room, Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Surgical Unit, Pediatrics, and Progressive Care Unit complete special education to care for trauma patients. These highly trained nurses work collaboratively with the physicians and support services, constantly assessing and monitoring the trauma patient and providing comprehensive care based on the patient’s specific needs.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Physiatrist – Evaluates trauma patients and prescribes appropriate physical, occupational, and/or speech therapy treatments. The physiatrist also develops a rehabilitation discharge plan for the trauma patient.
Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists provide specific treatments to increase the patient’s function and mobility.
Social Work and Case Management
Case managers are registered nurses who coordinate the discharge plan for patients who are returning home. This would include arrangements for home care services and equipment.
Social workers arrange for discharge to other facilities, such as a skilled nursing facility, nursing home or rehabilitation facility. They also provide psycho-social and alcohol use/abuse counseling.
Pastoral Care chaplains respond to trauma alerts and assist patients and their families by providing for spiritual needs.
Registered dietitians evaluate the patient’s nutritional needs and make nutritional and dietary recommendations.
Radiologists provide prompt interpretation of x-ray, CT and ultrasound studies to identify injuries.
Technologists (X-ray, CT and ultrasound) respond as part of the trauma alert team to complete emergent and urgent studies.
Laboratory technicians rapidly process and complete blood and urine tests.
Blood Bank processes requests for blood and blood products for both emergency and routine administration.
Switchboard Operators – Activate all trauma alerts over the public address system and the pagers to alert the trauma team. They maintain a log of all alert activations.
Trauma Medical Director, Trauma Program Manager and Trauma Clinical Resource nurses are responsible for maintaining Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF) standards, analyzing patient care for performance improvement and patient safety, developing and implementing policies and protocols.
Trauma Registrar – Abstracts data from the medical record and forwards information to the PTSF weekly. This important information is used by the Trauma Program and the PTSF to gauge performance and identify ways to improve outcomes.