Its more than just quality...
I am sure you have heard a complaint or two about First Aid training experiences. Perhaps you've even made a few comments yourself. Here are a few of the downfalls we have experienced and a some tips to avoid them.
1. Boring Content Delivery
First Aid and CPR certification participants are often bored and even put off by poor facilitators who do not know how to engage them. Misfit CPR instructors sometimes find their way into the classroom leaving participants uncomfortable and avoidant of the content being delivered. It is important that instructors have a comfort with the content being delivered that will allow them to adapt to the groups they are working with. The higher the comfort levels with the content, the more fluid and adaptable the instructor can be to make the content applicable and enjoyable for the participants. It is my preference that instructors have performed (at a professional level) the skills they are teaching in the classroom.
2. Bad instructors
I could write a whole article on this point alone. I have seen instructors mispronounce medical terminology, use fear tactics, and outright lie to participants to save face. Truly the mark of a professional is someone who shows integrity and takes ownership and responsibility for their own knowledge. If they don’t know they should say so and offer to assist the participant with finding an expert or source of information.
One of the primary goals of a good First Aid instructor should be to empower participants so that when they leave the classroom they feel more willing to engage in situations where First Aid is needed. Someone’s hand should be slapped for trying to fear monger members of the public into becoming “good Samaritans”. After all we now know that most of the time you will be called on to help someone you know and care about.
3. CPR is always changing – How accurate can it be?
I sometimes get questions about why CPR has changed. How do we know it will work this time? Don’t they just go back and forth about the way it’s done every couple of years?
It is true that over the years CPR has changed. Years ago we tried to make CPR better based on our best educated guess. Sometimes it worked, sometimes more information was needed. Now we follow what is known as a Best Practice method. Research is conducted to see what we are doing well and how we can improve. Thus, what we are doing now is considered “Best Practice”. It is research based and proven to increase survival rates. It is unlikely that we will see significant changes in CPR in the coming years because the body doesn’t change. If we do see changes, it will likely be related to the great advancements we are seeing in technology and equipment that are becoming available to the public, such as defibrillators (AEDs).
4. Performance anxiety
It is well known that adult learners experience performance anxiety when asked to demonstrate skills in front of their peers. When paired up by a facilitator, First Aid training participants dread being forced to perform skills on each other. Gifted instructors should be astute determiners of no verbal cues in the classroom and should enable participants with as much independence as possible. Skills should be demonstrated before the participants are asked to do them, and individuals should be able to choose who they want to work/practice with.
5. Participants already know the skills and training is the same year after year.
Time and time again I hear “How fast can we get this done?” “I don’t really need to be here because I do these skills for a living. This is just a formality.” “I have been doing First Aid and CPR training for 12 years. I don’t think you can teach me anything.”
First Aid training participants have a right to be disgruntled if the instructor is not adding value to their training. Every time they are in the classroom they should come away with something that makes them better. Facilitators should position themselves as experts. They should participate in on-going training and research that is relevant and allows them to promote information that is current and best practice.
6. Uncomfortable seating
There is nothing worse than being stuck in an uncomfortable chair for 8 hours, especially if you are used to being active. The furniture in the environment cannot always be adapted. It is however essential for good learning and enjoyment that the participants get up and be mobile frequently during their course. Regular breaks and refreshments are encouraged, and skilled instructors can implement interactive activities to break up the sedentary periods of content.
7. Time away from work tasks causes stress
It is the nature of todays’ workforce that many are taking on additional roles and tasks. It can be hard to be away from email and productivity. Especially if you have been asked to be away for 2 whole days. You can prepare your staff for First Aid training by helping them understand the benefits to them personally. First Aid training can lower the risk of their personal injury by nearly 1/3 (Canadian Red Cross Facts and Figures 2014). You can also help prepare staff by providing back up support for emergent items while they are away.
8. Lack of respect for autonomy
Some instructors believe in setting the tone for a course from the beginning by holding a rigid time schedule, clearly stating the rules and holding everyone accountable. Ethical behaviour in the classroom is a must and guidelines should be set for the safety and the enjoyment of all of the individuals involved. That being said, a strictly controlled environment can leave participants feeling uncomfortable and disrespected. Adult learners should be included in decision-making and respected to self regulate. Breaks should be scheduled and prompted regularly, but participants should be encouraged to step out quietly should they need to do so, or to move to the back of the room should they need to stand or stretch between breaks. There are many ways to integrate autonomy into the classroom. Some of these may include asking participants when they would like to break for lunch, asking which subject they would like to cover next, or participating in a group charter to allow input on rules of conduct during course hours.
Don’t just provide First Aid training to your employees. Provide an experience for them.
Make sure that instructors validate and affirm your employees. Be sure they are entertaining, accurate and engaging. When possible provide refreshments. Look for instructors who make it their job to remove fear and intimidation, and above all inspire participants to live a better life.
First Aid training is so much more than a Health and Safety requirement. It is full of life skills, prevention techniques and advice for healthy living.
It is an investment in your workplace, the families of your employees and your community.
If you value high quality training and passionate instruction, call PUSH for Life today to change your employees experience with First Aid & CPR training.
**Booking up to 12 months in advance, with as little as 2 weeks notice.
PUSH for Life ~ 1-888-225-3381