I’ve had some fascinating First Aid training today, and was pretty impressed by both the trainer and what he taught us.
First, some context: I’ve been trained in First Aid At Work for about about 8-9 years now. First Aid At Work is the most basic medical training you can get.
First Aid At Work tries to teach you how to stop someone dying before an ambulance arrives – don’t ask me to bandage wounds or fix broken bones, let alone amputate a limb! And my youngest brother, Rich, who’s a proper paramedic, would doubtless laugh at my “training”.
Previous First Aid courses have taught me all the usual stuff: CPR, mouth-to-mouth and the recovery position, plus a little bit of bandaging. But they made it all seem so complicated and beset with small details that my big worry has always been: could I remember all this in an emergency?
The guy who taught us today, a very likable ex-Army chap called Tony, was far more practical. Basically, all we First-Aiders can do – all we need to do – is present the emergency services with a viable patient upon their arrival.
Which is to say, try not to let the victim bleed to death and start performing CPR/mouth-to-mouth – if necessary – as soon as you can.
And that’s it.
We didn’t practice anything on a dummy – all of us in the training had learnt that stuff before and the basic techniques have become increasingly streamlined until these days you’d be hard pressed to get them badly wrong (by which I mean fatally wrong).
Instead Tony spent the time impressing us with the basics and having us look at some real-life patients we might encounter, i.e., not a person lying quietly on their back on the ground waiting for our diagnoses. We then ran through the small number of possible techniques and treatments we could bring to bear, looking at if, when and how to apply them in.
The result is that I now feel a lot more confident about using the few techniques I do know, rather than before, where I supposedly knew more but was very nervous about putting any of it into practice.