My knees ache and my brain is exhausted. I've been on another First Aid Course!!
I know many of us end up on FA training because our certification or professional body require us to do it. Every three years we dutifully attend a one day EFAW or similar course to satisfy those requirements and tick another box. But what about the skills you are learning? FA shouldn't just be about ticking a box and moving on to the next checkbox. I found that out a couple of years ago when I came across and apparently unconscious non-breathing casualty on a train. It's then that you realise how important the FA training you did is. I could almost hear my trainer's voice in my head saying, "Asses the situation, consider personal safety/cross contamination, alert response, airway..." as I tried to stay calm, control the situation and look after the casualty.
So, although I hate the idea of role playing, I see real value in doing high quality FA training. Because I've recently been asked to get involved with a small local rugby club, and because that will involve pitch-side first aid, I decided to do a specific pitch-side course. Over the weekend I spent two days going through all the basic stuff again and then extend that into pitch-side scenarios.
ReactFirst. It began with a requirement of my Sports Massage course followed by the need to do a different course for the LTA and then this weekend doing the pitch-side course.
The major difference between the EFAW (Emergency First Aid at Work) course and the sports specific courses lies in the extra material covered. Even the one-day course offered a more in-depth exploration of injuries and how to handle them than the EFAW course that I attend was able to cover. EFAW is a really good qualification to do, but if you are involved in a sporting environment then I's strongly urge you to consider a sports specific course. Like me, you may end up needing to do both because of regulatory requirements, but it might just be worth the extra investment.
The ReactFirst courses I've attended have been physically, emotionally and mentally draining. In truth, they've been tough. But you wouldn't really want sail through FA training without being put under some pressure because when it comes to the real thing, every FA situation is stressful.
The learning process is quite simple. Build a reliable, repeatable and systematic approach to dealing with a casualty and keep doing until it's fixed in your brain. As you progressively add elements to the process you keep practising. When you make an error, you go back to the start and do it again until you can get from finding the casualty to handing them over to the ambulance without a mistake. That probably sounds demanding and it is, but it's worth the effort because it helps embed the process in your head.
But there's fun too, just in case you are tempted to think it's like sitting your exams all over again! We laugh a lot, once we've got used to it! By the middle of the day folk are walking into the training room, stretching wide their arms and announcing, "I'm assessing the situation!"
On the two-day course we spent the afternoon of the second outside with different pitch-side scenarios. Casualties were no longer neatly arranged on their backs unresponsive but had a range of injuries from a casualty entangles in the nets of a goal to a clash of heads with casualties bleeding, fainting and generally passing out around you! Hectic, challenging and stressful? Definitely! Useful, thought-provoking and confidence building? Absolutely!
So, if your looking for First Aid training that will inspire you, motivate you, teach you, equip you and ultimately give you the confidence to take control of a casualty while professional help comes, then check out FirstReact's courses. They are among the best, if not the best FA courses available.
If you're involved in sports, working with sports people or involved in outdoor activities, FirstReact have a course for you. Check out their website and read some of the testimonials, then book yourself on a course!