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PHTLS PreHospital Trauma Life Support vs. ITLS International Trauma Life Support by EMS1

 PHTLS PreHospital Trauma Life Support vs. ITLS International Trauma Life Support 

Which trauma training course is right for you? PHTLS vs. ITLS
Compare course scope, cost and general requirements for two EMS trauma course providersSep 15, 2017
By Chris Meyer, EMS1 Contributor


When it comes to continuing education for first responders, PHTLS and ITLS (formerly known as BTLS) are among the most popular course providers. Most states accept either certification and the courses share similarities in terms of topics covered. Depending on who you talk to though, you may hear strong opinions from paramedics or EMTs loyal to the trauma training course they attended.

To help distinguish between PHTLS and ITLS, we’ll lay out a comparison of course length, topics covered, likely locations, cost, passing requirements and continuing education hours awarded for each program.

PHTLS—PREHOSPITAL TRAUMA LIFE SUPPORT
NAEMT or the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians is the sponsor organization of PHTLS. NAEMT bills PHTLS as a course dedicated to improving trauma care by focusing education on EMS practitioners’ ability to think critically. In addition to its “Provider Course,” PHTLS offers courses for other first responders.

The classroom portion of PHTLS can be taken online in some cases, but the practical portion must be in-person.

Course Length: 2 days, 8 hours per day

Topics covered:

Pediatric and Geriatric Trauma
Various emergencies—drowning, lightning, altitude, hot/cold emergencies
Special situations such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks
Airway management
Scene and patient assessment
Circulation and shock
Likely locations: PHTLS is taught in 64 countries throughout the world. To find a course near you, you must go to the NAEMT website to fill out the form and have it sent to a course coordinator that will give you specific information on a PHTLS location.

Cost range: The PHTLS course cost will vary, but between $150 and $250 is a good ballpark range. That price may or may not include the PHTLS Provider Manual which costs between $30 and $50.

What it takes to pass: Passing the PHTLS course requires the attendance of the entire 16-hour course, completion of online work and the classroom course. Participants must also complete skill stations and scenarios depending on the requirements of the course.

The number of hours of CE: 16 hours for the PHTLS Provider course.

ITLS—INTERNATIONAL TRAUMA LIFE SUPPORT
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) endorses ITLS. One of the main focuses of ITLS is identifying conditions that require urgent hospital transport. ITLS also emphasizes the importance of practitioners being familiar with the newest equipment and techniques.

Course Length: 2 days, 8 hours per day

Topics covered: ITLS provides a variety of trauma training courses. Their website lists 12 different, accredited courses, not including their recertification courses. However, the basic ITLS course focuses on the critical issues involved in trauma care. A few of the issues highlighted by the ITLS course overview include:

Airway management
Rapid extrication
Emergency rescue
Mass shooting procedures
Evaluating likely victims of shock
Pre-hospital treatment of impaired patients
Pediatric and geriatric trauma
Likely locations: Spread across 41 countries, ITLS is made up of a system of 108 chapters and training centers. ITLS has 38 chapters and centers throughout the United States and another fifteen in Canada. Wherever you live in the United States, it’s unlikely you’ll have to go too far to find an ITLS chapter or training center.

Cost Range: You’ll have to call the specific chapter you’re looking into for accurate pricing, but courses range between $250 to $300. ITLS charges assessment fees to every student whether they pass or fail. The international fee is currently $15.

What it takes to pass: Students pass the ITLS course and become a certified provider after they’ve attended the skill stations, lectures and passed written and practical exams. You aren’t expected to test on every skill. But you have to pass a test of 50 questions with a minimum score of 74 percent.

On the practical part of the course, you’re required to use skills appropriately to manage simulated patients. The ITLS website indicates that you’ll be graded on “your overall management of the problem.”

The Number of hours of CE: 16 hours for the ITLS Basic Provider course.


Compare ITLS

ITLS is the smart choice for your trauma training because it’s:
  • Practical. ITLS trains you in a realistic, hands-on approach proven to work in the field—from scene to surgery.
  • Dynamic. ITLS content is current, relevant, and responsive to the latest thinking in trauma management.
  • Flexible. ITLS courses are taught through a strong network of chapters and training centres that customize content to reflect local needs and priorities.
  • Team centered. ITLS emphasizes a cohesive team approach that works in the real world and recognizes the importance of your role.
  • Grounded in emergency medicine. Practicing emergency physicians—medicine’s frontline responders—lead ITLS efforts to deliver stimulating content based on solid emergency medicine.
  • Challenging. ITLS course content raises the bar on performance in the field by integrating classroom knowledge with practical application of skills.

What Sets ITLS Apart from the Competition?

ITLS and PHTLS, the two most internationally recognized pre-hospital trauma training programs, have both published manuals used for training. Here’s what sets ITLS apart:

Course Foundation

  • Patient assessment algorithm used as the foundational methodology for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Standard Curriculum, taught in paramedic, AEMT, EMT and first responder programs
  • Endorsed by the American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Primary Survey utilizes the CABC approach (Control life-threatening bleeding, Airway, Breathing, Circulation) to emphasize immediate bleeding control if present
  • Core and supplemental content that allows for customization to address regional and educational needs
  • Dedicated Pediatric, Military and Access (vehicle extrication) certification courses
  • Online solution for didactic portion of the Provider course for flexibility and accessibility
  • Professional development modules for Instructors to enhance their teaching and evaluation skills to ensure objective and consistent evaluations
  • Continually updated “Current Thinking” section of ITRAUMA.org to reflect recent trauma topics and recommendations as reviewed and evaluated by the Editorial Board
  • Expanded online resources offered by Pearson Education

8th Edition Textbook

  • Critical evidence-based, focused text that emphasizes the critical aspects of trauma care and minimizes the “nice-to-know” information
  • Each core chapter followed with a patient management skills chapter to reinforce critical skills and appeal to different learning styles
  • Capnography stressed as the standard for confirming and monitoring position of the endotracheal tube, supraglottic airways, and continuous assessment of ventilatory and shock status
  • Distinguishes between Rapid Extrication and Emergency Rescue
  • References the Hartford Consensus II document that indicates EMS should enter the scene of a suspected mass shooting with law enforcement protection
  • Discusses on evaluation of lactate levels in shock
  • Encourages Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) exams in the pre-hospital setting, when available
  • Pelvic binders indicated for pre-hospital treatment of an unstable pelvis
  • Dedicated chapter on substance abuse and treatment of the impaired patient
  • “What’s New” section outlining updates and additions to the previous edition
A comprehensive comparison is available upon request. Please email Ginny Kennedy Palys at ginnykp@itrauma.org.
https://www.itrauma.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/What-Sets-ITLS-Apart-comparison.pdf



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