Background: The Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM) course uses standardized porcine simulation to teach the repair of penetrating trauma. It is offered in 26 sites in the United States, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, and Japan. The purpose of the present study was to query ATOM participants regarding their perceptions of the value and influence of the ATOM course on knowledge, confidence, and skill to repair penetrating injuries. Methods: An anonymous, voluntary survey was posted on the Internet at surveymonkey.com. E-mail notification was sent to all 1,001 ATOM participants through May 2008. Items requested agreement/disagreement on a 5-point Likert scale and space for comments. Agreement indicated positive perceptions of ATOM. Results: A total of 962 surgeons received the request to complete the survey; 444 ATOM participants from 36 states and 17 countries participated, for a response rate of 46%. Range of agreement with all of the items was 75.4-99.0%. Results include the following: 78.9% (95% CI, 74.7-82.6%) can identify injuries more quickly; 80.7% (95% CI, 76.6-84.3%) have a more organized operative approach; 81.1% (95% CI, 77.0-84.6%) can control bleeding more quickly; 86.1% (95% CI, 82.4-89.2%) can control injuries more effectively; 86.4% (95% CI, 82.7-89.4%) are more competent trauma surgeons; 87.0% are more confident (95% CI, 83.4-89.9%), and 89.2% are more knowledgeable (95% CI, 85.8-91.8%) about repairing penetrating injuries; 99% (95% CI, 97.4-99.7%) said ATOM is worthwhile. Overall, 87.4% of the comments were positive. Conclusions: Participants worldwide perceive that ATOM is worthwhile and helps surgeons improve knowledge, confidence, and skill in repairing penetrating injuries.
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