Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses

Framework-Historical Background

The ATCN programme is targeted at nurses who wish to receive training and certification in the field of life support for injured patients. It is taught jointly with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS) education programme for doctors, whereas, in cases where it cannot be taught concurrently with ATLS, it can also be taught independently.


The ATCN and ATLS programmes aim to reduce the number of preventable and needless deaths and disabilities resulting from trauma. Their characteristic feature is that they adopt a clear and systematic approach to the assessment and treatment of multi-injured patients. They are important tools not only for guidance in the treatment of injured patients in Emergency Departments and Intensive Care Units but also for management of mass casualties. The programmes focus on the treatment of patients, particularly in the first hour after the injury, covering their resuscitation, stabilization, reassessment and, if necessary, evacuation to more specialized medical units. The simultaneous training of doctors and nurses assists in developing a common language and a joint approach as regards the assessment and treatment of multi-injured patients, it promotes cooperation and it optimizes results.


The ATCN programme is operated under the auspices of the American non-profit organization of nurses Society of Trauma Nurses (STN), which addresses the care of injured patients. Every four years, ATCN material is updated with new scientific data in order to incorporate new and potentially even safer skills.

ATCN was created in the early 1980s at the Shock Trauma Center, USA. In 1997, STN undertook responsibility for the programme and has since offered it as its flagship education initiative. In 2000, the ATLS subcommittee of ACS officially recognized and approved the broad implementation of the ATCN combined with the ATLS programme, both in the USA and worldwide. In Europe, ATCN is taught in 10 countries.

Moreover, the ATCN National Training Center, founded by the civil non-profit organization Regeneration & Progress (R&P), was certified in 2017 in Greece, with the valuable assistance of ATCN Cyprus and of the Center of Emergency and Prehospital Care of Cyprus (KSEPA).

The ATCN programme as well as a series of education programmes on trauma management are implemented in accordance with Law 4655/2020 (Government Gazette, Series I, No 16/31-1-2020), with the exclusive financial support of Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), over a five-year pilot phase. The cooperating bodies are the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA), Health Units SA (AEMY SA), the Ministry of Health and R&P, which has been designated responsible for the financial management and technical supervision of these programmes. After the lapse of the five-year period, financial support continues to be provided through resources of the Ministry of Health.

Seminar-specific information

In accordance with Law 4655/2020, the subsidized ATCN two-day seminar (21 hours of training) is targeted at eighth semester nursing students who have passed all subjects of previous years, at nursing students pending graduation who have no more than two subjects left to pass, as well as at graduates in nursing on condition that less than one year has elapsed from their graduation and that they have not started working as nurses.

ATCN and ATLS have a common theoretical part (13 interactive discussions) and a distinct practical part, which consists of the following:

Skills stations:


  • Initial assessment and treatment
  • Airway and ventilation management
  • Shock management
  • Head trauma
  • Musculoskeletal trauma and spinal column/cord injury
  • Paediatric trauma


Discussion in groups:


  • Discussion of ATCN multiple-choice questions
  • Discussion of screening scenarios


Simulation scenarios for assessment and treatment of multi-injured patients

The structure of the seminar promotes critical thinking, cooperation, as well as a team approach to the care of multi-injured patients. Based on adult education principles, education is interactive and it is delivered by certified instructors. Practical training is carried out either on manikins (hands on) or on simulated patients and it involves response to virtual incidents.

In order to prepare appropriately, students receive:


  • one month prior to the start of the seminar, the ATLS training manual and the ATCN training manual;
  • 40 multiple-choice questions which they are invited to answer in order to be assisted in their studying effort, comprehend the philosophy of the programme and have their level assessed.


Uninterrupted attendance of the programme, at the end of which written and oral evaluation is conducted, is mandatory. Written evaluation includes 40 multiple-choice questions and it is considered to be successful if 80% of the questions are answered correctly. Oral evaluation concerns the assessment and treatment of multi-injured patients, in accordance with the principles of ATCN, under a simulation scenario.

Requirements - Necessary supporting documents

For students: Certificate of completion of studies or transcript of records and solemn declaration stating the following:
“I am an eighth semester student who has passed all subjects of previous years” or
“I am a student pending graduation who has no more than two subjects left to pass”.

For graduates: Copy of degree and completed solemn declaration stating that they do not work as nurses.


The following are the scheduled training seminars. Please select a seminar to go to the relevant page with detailed information about this seminar.