Learning first aid can be the difference between life and death for someone who has been in an accident, or otherwise suffered an injury. Whilst there are many first aid qualifications out there, most can be expected to have a similar kind of structure. This article aims to outline what can be found on a first aid course, and to provide some advice on how to make the most effective use of time on the day.
What will Happen on my first aid course?
As mentioned, depending on what course you choose to take there will be variances in what happens during a training course.
Tutorcare’s Emergency First Aid at Work course, for example, would see you firstly be given an explanation of first aid practices, before moving on to a discussion around the regulations governing first aid and health & safety.
After this, a combination of practical and theory sessions would aim to teach you how to handle a variety of workplace injuries, including unconsciousness, bleeding, and shock. Other courses might include teaching you how to use a defibrillator or specialise in how to deal with chokes or burns.
Many first aid courses last only a day, but some can last longer due to the complexity or breadth of content required. A Basic Paediatric First Aid training course covers much more than a first aid at work course, and so lasts a couple of days.
It will have a section establishing how best to plan for first aid situations, and how to respond to burns, chokes, or bleeding for children specifically; performing the techniques you learn on another course would likely only harm a child further.
You will be shown how to identify shocks, deal with fractures or other breakages, and treating bites, whilst also coping with sudden illnesses like seizures. Resuscitation techniques would also be taught on such a course.
Assessment on first aid courses are rarely exam based. Ordinarily, assessment will be an ongoing process throughout the day(s) with the trained instructor continually observing your progress and capability.
As a brief warning, it should be noted that many first aid courses feature audio or visual material simulating real life emergencies, and that some people may find this to be emotionally distressing. Trainers providing the course will be able to give assistance, but it is good practice to be aware of the possibility of viewing sensitive material.
What to do to Prepare for a First Aid Course
A few small things can be done to get the most out of a first aid session. You should ideally wear loose fitting, casual clothes. Trousers and flat-bottomed shoes are also recommended. This is because the nature of many first aid demonstrations necessitates kneeling on the floor, which can be quite difficult and/or uncomfortable in other clothing.
You might be tempted to try and teach yourself something about first aid before the course begins, so as to not feel like you are going in blind. It’s recommended you don’t do this. Simply put, many free courses you can find don’t go into enough depth to allow accreditation which employers would be looking for.
Secondly, a basic first aid course is designed to be taken from a position of no prior experience; you don’t need to know anything about first aid in order to take them (except in some cases with advanced courses).
Teaching yourself, for example, resuscitation manoeuvres can be detrimental because if you pick up any incorrect techniques before taking the course, it will be much harder to break out of them and re-learn them in the correct way.
Make sure that you actually have time to complete the whole course, too. If you have other commitments that would stop you from taking the whole course it would be worth rescheduling the training, for your own benefit and that of the trainer.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, come with a positive attitude. Having a willingness to learn and accept correction will make sure you leave the course as prepared for whatever first aid challenges come your way as possible.
Information on legislation pertinent to first aid can be found at the HSE website:- http://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/legislation.htm