J Surg Educ 2017 Jan - Feb;74(1):161-166. Epub 2016 Jul 11.
Saint Mary's Hospital Vechta, Teaching Hospital of Hannover University, Vechta, Germany. Electronic address:
Objective: To examine whether faculty who teach the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course would improve with experience and, correspondingly, ratings from course evaluations would increase.
Design: Retrospective analysis of student evaluations of 262 ATLS courses held between 2008 and 2012.
Setting: All ATLS courses held between 2008 and 2012 nationwide in Germany.
Participants: All ATLS student course evaluations covering 8202 lessons, 81 instructors, 36 course directors, and 5 coordinators.
Results: ATLS courses in Germany attained high levels of student satisfaction. Satisfaction levels increased steadily over the 5-year period studied. The entire staff influenced this finding. Teaching quality improved the most within the first 100 lessons taught. Skill stations received better evaluations than lectures, and local courses were less satisfactory than national course formats. The 2 demonstrations that open the course were the top rated events. Skill stations, including a human phantom, were highly rated; the cricothyrotomy station was top rated.
Conclusion: The German ATLS course evaluations indicated steady improvement over the 5-year study. The level of experience of course coordinators, directors, and instructors influenced this finding. Teaching quality improved most within the first 100 lessons taught, and then reached a steady state. Skill stations received better evaluations than lectures, and local courses were less satisfactory than national course formats.