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A Journey Through Transfer Medicine

Understanding the complexity and diversity of transfer medicine for critically ill patients across a global landscape.

1,997 enrolled on this course

A Journey Through Transfer Medicine

1,997 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover how to keep critically ill patients safe during transfer

Across the world, thousands of critically ill patients are transferred within hospitals and between locations, yet there is little formal training available.

This novel, interactive course is designed to address this gap. You will develop skills and knowledge around transferring critically ill patients across road, air and remote environments. Working with pilots, we have included non-technical skills training, drawing parallels with aviation, and relating these back to medicine. We will explore transfer medicine in specialised settings and hear experts on preparing for these.

Whatever your background, you will learn to plan and execute transfers of critically ill patients safely.

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  • Week 1

    Introduction To Transfer Medicine

    • Welcome!

      A short introduction to the course

    • Why Is Transfer Medicine Important?

      In this introductory section, we look at some examples around the world that highlight the need and importance of transfer medicine.

    • What Is Transfer Medicine?

      In this activity, we will try to define "transfer medicine" and explore some of the modes.

    • Identifying Risks

      Critical care transfers pose a well-recognised risk to patients. Learn how to identify risks in this section.

    • Minimising Risks

      In this section, we will examine various strategies to minimise risk in transfer medicine.

    • Human Factors: An Introduction

      An introduction to human factors hosted by WingFactors, a team of airline pilots.

    • End Of Week Summary

      You've reached the end of Week 1! Here, we will summarise the main learning points of the week.

  • Week 2

    A Practical Guide To Transfers

    • Welcome!

      A short introduction to Week 2 - A Practical Guide To Transfers

    • Transfer Physiology

      How does the environment and mode of transport impact our patient? A knowledge of transfer physiology is key before embarking on inter-hospital transfers. Here you will learn some of the fundamentals.

    • Pre-Transfer Preparation

      Preparation is the core of any safe transfer. In this section, we will see a number of videos showing how a team prepares transfers.

    • Packaging A Patient

      In this section, you will learn how to package a patient in a structured way. We invite you to engage in discussion about this important skill!

    • Before You Depart

      From now on, the team has taken over full responsibility of the patient. We discuss the final checks that are performed to ensure a safe transfer.

    • Critical Incidents During Transfer

      What could possibly go wrong? Despite diligent preparation, adverse events do occur during transfers. We will discuss the various types of critical incidents and methods for preventing and managing them, including human factors.

    • Arriving At The Receiving Hospital

      The final stages of a transfer. Safe handover at the destination hospital and the importance of debriefing are explored in this activity.

    • End Of Week Summary

      You have reached the end of Week 2! Here, we will summarise the main learning points of the week.

  • Week 3

    Equipment, Decision Making & Aeromedical Transfers

    • Welcome!

      A short introduction to Week 3 - Equipment & Aeromedical Transfers

    • Equipment & Technology

      A variety of equipment is used in transfer medicine. Here we take a look at what we use and why it matters.

    • Documentation & Communication

      We look at how to document a transfer and why communication matters.

    • Transfer Decision-Making

      Decision-making is a crucial aspect of transfer medicine. In this section we explore some clinical scenarios and discuss the human factors surrounding decision-making.

    • Aeromedical Transfer & Retrieval Medicine

      In this section, we learn about transferring critically ill patients over short and long distances using commercial carriers, helicopters and ambulance jets.

    • End Of Week Summary

      You have reached the end of Week 3! Here, we will summarise the main learning points of the week.

  • Week 4

    Specialist & Extreme Transfers

    • Welcome!

      A short introduction to Week 4 - Specialist & Extreme Transfers

    • Neurological & Neurosurgical Transfers

      How to transfer the brain-injured patient.

    • Burns Transfers

      The challenges of transferring patients with burns.

    • Bariatric Transfers

      There is an increasing need for transfer services to accommodate patients living with obesity. Learn about the specific challenges and solutions in this chapter.

    • Obstetric Transfers

      Learn about transferring patients in the peri-partum period.

    • Paediatric Transfers

      How is the transfer of an infant or child different from that of an adult? Find out in this section.

    • High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID)

      Discuss the core principles of transferring patients with HCIDs.

    • Prone Transfers

      How to conduct a transfer with a patient in the prone position.

    • ECMO Transfers

      Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a temporary life support technique, used to treat respiratory or cardiac failure. In this section, we hear from specialists about ECMO retrieval.

    • Remote & Extreme Transfer Medicine

      In this section, we will learn how challenging transfers can be in remote environments.

    • End Of Week Summary

      You have reached the end of Week 4! Here, we will summarise the main learning points of the week.

    • A Future Perspective

      We wrap up the learning in this MOOC and take a look into the future of transfer medicine.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the scope of transfer medicine practice and understand the risks involved in transferring critically unwell patients
  • Summarise the physiological principles, human factors and relevant guidelines required to optimise a patient, transfer them safely and handle critical incidents
  • Assess the importance of equipment and different modes of transport in executing a safe transfer
  • Develop an understanding of specialist, unusual and remote situations and specific patient groups who need safe critical transfer

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for all healthcare professionals with an interest in the transfer of critically ill patients.

This includes nurses, paramedics, practitioners and doctors in anaesthesia, critical care, emergency medicine, prehospital medicine and various other disciplines, as well as students in these fields.

Who will you learn with?

Arndt is a consultant anaesthetist at UCLH, where he set up and leads the NCL-ACTS Transfer Service. He was head at an ADAC HEMS base in Germany and still works as a flight doctor for GAMA Aviation

Riaz is an anaesthetic and intensive care medicine doctor with a special interest in transfer medicine. She is the data and digital transformation lead for NCL-ACTS

I am an anaesthetic consultant having recently completed training in London. I am the education lead for NCL-ACTs and also work as as a locum consultant for the East of England ACCTS

Verity is an anaesthetic doctor in London, having completed a fellowship in the North Central London Adult Critical Care Transfer Service (NCL-ACTS) where she is now part of the Education Team

Joe is a clinical fellow in anaesthesia and has completed a fellowship in transfer medicine with the North Central London Adult Critical Care Transfer Service (NCL-ACTS).

Deepshri is an anaesthetic and critical care fellow in London. She has illustrated the graphics that will take you through the course.

I am an anaesthetic registrar in the central London School of anaesthesia with an interest in transfer medicine. I work with NCL-ACTS as lead for staffing, fellowships and I assist with education

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save


For the first month. Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$129/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 28 Apr 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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