Trauma History and Assessment


                                  Welcome to Trauma History and Assessment


You have reached Samaritan Medical Center’s NetLearning system! All course materials are available on-line. Acceptable operating systems include Windows and Mac with Google Chrome as the preferred web browser. Please contact SMC’s IT department at Ext. 4507 should there be difficulty accessing materials or with any additional questions or technical concerns.



Trauma Care and Management focuses on the improvement of care and management of the trauma patient as they transition through the Samaritan Health System. Competency in trauma care and management is essential to all healthcare facilities, but now more than ever as staffing shortages and bed closures limit patient transfers to regional facilities that deliver this type of specialty care.  It is Samaritan Medical Center’s mission to provide high quality, comprehensive, safe, and compassionate healthcare services to meet the needs of our civilian and military community. This shall be accomplished through facility values of honesty, empathy, accountability, respect and trust. This mandatory education is a required annual competency to be completed by all Registered Nurses within the Emergency Department setting.

This course consists of ten self-learning modules for individual study and is eligible for 10.0 continuing nursing education hours that may be applied to approved nursing accreditation agencies (Emergency Nurses Association). Prerequisites: none. This education is supported by Patricia Benner's theoretical framework of "From Novice to Expert".  Knowledge acquisition that is accompanied with skills and experiences will inevitably advance the nurse's proficiency in the trauma realm.

Upon completion of these modules, the nurse will:

  • 1. Explain the biomechanics of common injuries

  • 2. Incorporate physical assessment, imaging studies, and laboratory data to evaluate the hospitalized trauma patient

  • 3. Prevent, identify, and manage complications common to the hospitalized trauma patient


Upon completion of the Trauma History and Assessment module, the nurse will:

  • 1. Describe how history has shaped today’s trauma system

  • 2. State the components required to complete a primary and secondary survey

  • 3. Describe the capabilities of designated trauma centers I-V

Trauma history is the first of ten modules to be completed in the Trauma Care and Management series. You must successfully complete this module prior to beginning Module 2.


Trauma History:

Please read the following on the history of trauma:


Primary Survey:


Please review the video below on performing a primary survey: 


View presentation on trauma center levels:

Read more about facility capabilities:



Discussion Question (EPSLO 2/SLO 2)

What resources should you have readily available when you are preparing for a trauma victim's arrival?

Quiz (EPSLO 2,3 /SLO 1,2,3)

  1. The Civil War contributed which of the following to advance trauma systems?

    1. Aid stations

    2. Triage process

    3. Rapid transport

    4. All of the above


  1. Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the creation of the first trauma manual

    1. True

    2. False


  1. Which provided grants that assisted hospital construction that included emergency departments

    1. National Academy of Sciences

    2. Hill-Burton Act of 1946

    3. Neither of the above


  1. The first step in the primary trauma assessment is

    1. Breathing 

    2. Disability

    3. Exposure

    4. Airway


  1. Pertinent interventions that should be conducted during the airway assessment include:

    1. Assessing for responsiveness

    2. Opening the airway

    3. Suctioning the airway to remove excessive secretions/foreign body

    4. All of the above


  1. Diminished lung sounds may be a sign of pneumothorax or a hemothorax

    1. True

    2. False 


  1. The patients’ neurologic status may be evaluated by 

    1. Pupil assessment

    2. Use of the Glasgow Coma Scale

    3. Assessment of level of consciousness 

    4. All of the above


  1. The “E” in primary assessment refers to exposure.  The patient should be fully undressed and then covered with warm blankets to prevent hypothermia.

    1. True

    2. False


  1. Which trauma center has the ability to provide advanced trauma life support (ATLS) prior to transfer of patients to a higher level trauma center?

    1. Level I

    2. Level II

    3. Level III

    4. Level IV


  1. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) designates trauma centers

    1. True

    2. False

  • Dr. John Campbell. (2013, December 12). Trauma 1, primary survey looks at ABCDE. YouTube.

  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2020). Trauma nursing core course provider manual (8th ed.). Jones and Bartlett.

  • Kostiuk M, Burns B. (2021, July 28). Trauma assessment. In: StatPearls.
  • Solheim, J., & Sigma Theta Tau International. (2016). Emergency nursing: The profession, the pathway, the practice. Sigma Theta Tau International.
  • Sovik-Correia, K & Whalen, K.C. (2016). Nursing trauma simulation course. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 42(3), 255-257.
Teacher Page

Presented by:  Jennifer A. Castle, RN, BSN, CEN



                         Excelsior College

                         7 Columbia Circle

                         Albany, NY 12203-5159

                         NUR 661:  Program and Curriculum Development