Students explore trauma nursing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 20, 2014) - Treating the trauma patient involves handling urgent situations where the cause of injury or illness is not yet known. This summer, Associate Professor Kay Luft, M.S.N., R.N. is giving students the opportunity to gain some knowledge about the world of trauma nursing.

This Trauma Elective summer course has been taught by Luft since the summer of 1992 at St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences. Included in the course are field trips to Children’s Mercy’s Trauma Center, the Burn Center at KU Medical Center and a tour of the life flight helicopter at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

Students also research and present different scenarios a trauma nurse may experience in the emergency department.

Luft has a passion for sharing her experiences with students and is a certified, critical-care nurse with five years experience in the emergency department.

“It’s hard to anticipate trauma, you never know what may come in,” said Luft describing what it’s like to work in trauma nursing.

She said it is challenging to get into trauma nursing right after graduation, so it is beneficial to work as a tech in an emergency department during school, or to pick the emergency department rotation as a capstone during your final semester in nursing school at Saint Luke’s College. Once a nurse is working in the emergency department they would need a few years of experience in critical care to become a flight nurse.

“I want to work as a nurse in the emergency department or intensive care unit and get some experience to become a travel nurse,” said student Niki Baxter explaining why she is taking the trauma elective this summer.

She feels that working in the emergency department and/or an intensive care unit before becoming a travel nurse will make her more adaptable to different situations. The field trips, especially getting a tour of the life flight helicopter, were what she was most excited about in the class this summer. The most interesting thing she’s learned is how neurologically impaired the patient can be and how this effects all parts of the body.

When considering a career in trauma nursing, students should ensure that they are able to think on their feet, and maintain a clear head as there are often multiple patients that must be dealt with at one time. Students are also often encouraged to do a walk-through of a shift in the trauma unit, as well as completing work experience and clinical experience throughout the trauma unit to ensure that it is indeed the area of medicine where they want to practice.

For more information:
Amber Lauenstein, Second Semester Junior
Saint Luke’s College
624 Westport Road
KC, Mo. 64111