AOCMF Neurotrauma Curriculum Development

01. October 2012

Transforming neurotrauma education

​Aurelia Peraud (Germany), Christian Matula (Austria), Jose Fernandez Alen (Spain), Francesco Biroli (Italy), and Michael Bierschneider (Germany) form the newly established AOCMF Europe Neurotrauma Working Group. Within this neurotrauma working group, the main priority is to develop a new Curriculum for neurotrauma with an initial focus on the Principles Course in collaboration with AOCMF Education and AO Education.

During three workshops in January, March, and June 2012, the members have revolutionized their approach for course planning using an established curriculum development process from AO Education.

First steps in curriculum development

In the first phase, the working group identified the target audiences and the patient problems they deal with as a basis for content development. They agreed that Principles course should focus on residents and fellows in neurotrauma, as well as surgeons and physicians from other specialties, such as CMF, spine, ENT, plastic surgery, pediatric surgery, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, neuroradiology, emergency medicine, and intensive care. In addition, content should be developed for ORP, ICU nurses, medical technicians, social workers, and rehabilitation specialists.


Based on the list of patient problems, the group then identified the competencies that are the framework for developing all educational content and activities. A competency is defined as the unique combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that a healthcare professional must have in order to be able to diagnose and treat patients in a specific area of clinical practice. The competencies agreed by the group are:

  1. Perform basic assessment in the emergency situation
  2. Integrate into interdisciplinary management
  3. Decide appropriate investigations, interpret the results, and react appropriately
  4. Select and perform operative procedures
  5. Select and perform nonoperative procedures
  6. Manage ICP
  7. Prevent, identify, and manage complications
  8. Organize rehabilitation transfer and follow-up
  9. Apply guidelines specific to neurotrauma
  10. Communicate with the patient, relatives, and colleagues

Competency-based education aligns four key components to ensure learner needs are addressed:

  • Curriculum—defines all learning activities and learning outcomes
  • Faculty Development—training to deliver content using all appropriate methods
  • Resources—learning materials are developed in response to needs
  • Assessment & Evaluation—identifies needs and tracks progress

The group then reviewed all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes and identified those that should be delivered in face-to-face education for Principles level and defined the core content (procedures and other components) and recommended methods. During the process, the group also identified content that would be appropriate for delivery in other formats (eg, online, clinical practice tools) and content that should not be covered until the Advanced course.


The result of this work is that the group has identified nine modules for a standard Principles course and developed an outline for ideal content delivery. This work will be evaluated in two pilot events over the coming months. In addition, a new structure for content delivery in each session or module of a course will be evaluated during the Davos 2012 neurotrauma course.

Further development and implementation

The next steps for the working group in this process of transforming education is to evaluate the new course during 2013, and then make recommendations for broader implementation. The group will also assess and prioritize the other educational components that should be developed to support education on this topic (eg, assessments, online resources, faculty development modules). ​