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Transfer Yourself Beyond The MOOC…

This article explains the differences in training and education for the various team members worldwide, linking it to the map
The inside of an ambulance used for training

We’re thrilled you’ve completed this course in transfer medicine, and if you’re looking for the next step on the path take a look below. Dr Patrick A. Ward (Consultant Anaesthetist, St John’s Hospital, Livingston, UK) explains some of the routes available to develop your expertise in this emerging field.

  • Transfer teams are almost always multidisciplinary in composition, with significant variation in minimum training requirements, skill-mix within teams, and training backgrounds/qualifications of those conducting patient transfers worldwide.
Please check out the world map if you’re interested in more details.
  • Various professional bodies worldwide have implemented training modules as part of their curricula, some mandatory and some optional/voluntary.
  • A number of courses and professional qualifications exist in this area, supplemented by recognised international fellowships that have well-established training programmes. Whilst not an exhaustive list, this article outlines some of the existing training requirements, opportunities, and resources if you’re looking to go further.

Professional Examinations & Qualifications

  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh offers a Diploma in Retrieval & Transfer Medicine (DRTM) which is a stand-alone examination, open to doctors, nurses and paramedics with relevant retrieval experience. Applicants must have undertaken at least 12 months part-time/6 months full-time experience in prehospital and/or retrieval medicine, including the transfer of critically ill patients.

Fellowships & Other Experiences

  • A number of well recognised and established national and international fellowships offer specialist training.
  • These include highly competitive secondments to regional Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) within the UK and internationally, and are available to trainees (forming part of their training) or post-CCT applicants (as stand-alone posts), dependent upon the individual commitments of the applicant and the particular requirements of the service.
  • The training is highly structured, often incorporating a short intensive period of lectures and simulation drills/scenarios, followed by heavily supervised hands-on retrieval experience. This is allied with continual assessment, until the necessary competence level has been reached for independent practice.
  • Relevant experience can also be sought through a variety of other fellowships, for example – paediatric critical care transfer, extracorporeal life support, extreme/wilderness/mountain medicine etc.
  • Observer roles with local ambulance services, and event medicine experience at sporting venues/competitions can also provide useful exposure to transfer and pre-hospital medicine.

In Conclusion…

  • Transfer medicine is a medical specialty that is gaining wider recognition, with a greater appreciation that the specific skills and knowledge required to conduct a safe transfer of critically ill patients requires dedicated specialist training.
  • Nevertheless, it remains a significant challenge for medical, nursing and paramedic professional governing bodies worldwide to ensure that those personnel are adequately trained. This is only the beginning of the journey!


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A Journey Through Transfer Medicine

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