So I’m taking ATLS, Advanced Trauma Life Support.  For the uninitiated, it’s a certification to allow physicians to have a common way of looking at, treating and talking about trauma care.

The funny thing is, as an emergency medicine physician, this is what I was trained to do, have done for 20 + years and continue to practice.  So I’m taking this course because many of the companies that hire locum tenens (temporary physicians) expect their docs to have the certification.  Indeed, many hospitals and physician groups require it as well.

The course is being taught at Large Southern Medical Center, hereafter referred to as LSMC (to protect anonymity).  It’s being done very well, I must say.  And the teaching staff is gracious and helpful.  However, some of my instructors are seasoned trauma surgeons and several are PG3 and PG5 residents.  That is, 3 and 5 years out of medical school.

Which is to say, I’ve taking care of a lot more trauma patients than they have.  No, I’m not a surgeon but I’m darn good at trauma care.  Nevertheless, I have to be ‘certified’ because we live in a ‘certification’ culture.

So here’s the analogy I’ve come up with to describe the way I feel about these courses.  Having me, as a board-certified emergency physician, take ATLS is like this:  A man has a degree in accounting and went further to become a CPA.  He is hired by a firm.  The firm then says, ‘nice credentials.  But we’ll need you to take the HR Block tax preparers course, just to be sure you know what you’re doing.’  He says, ‘but I have a degree and I’m a CPA.’  And they say, ‘yes, but everyone has to take it so we know you’re qualified.’  He is dumbfounded.

Do any of you have a similar analogy you’d like to share?

Back to trauma…


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