Trauma is the leading cause of death for young people in Norway. Several of these deaths are preventable if the patient receives the correct initial treatment. The trauma team is responsible for initial treatment of traumatized patients, and better team function could perhaps improve the outcome. The aim of this study was to obtain a deeper understanding of which human factors are important in the trauma team when treating trauma patients.
Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted at four different hospitals of various sizes and with different trauma load. At each hospital we spoke with a nurse, an anaesthesiologist and a team leader (surgeon). The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using systematic text condensation according to the principals of Giorgi s phenomenological analysis as modified by Malterud.
According to our informants, leadership is an essential component in trauma management. The ideal leader should be an experienced surgeon, have extensive knowledge of trauma care, communicate clearly and radiate confidence. Most interviewed team leaders, however, had little experience with trauma. They wanted more guidance and experienced personnel present when receiving trauma patients. A leader can be corrected if done in a considerate and respectful manner.
Norwegian trauma team members emphasized leadership as an essential factor for appropriate trauma team function. The leader should be experienced in trauma treatment. Paradoxically they all reported that trauma teams are frequently headed by inexperienced team leaders. Further steps should be taken to determine the reality of the situation.