First Aiders - Quality or Quantity?

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I have been involved in training first aiders since 1982 whilst as a training officer with the Avon Ambulance Service and now with my training company First Response. I have always had great respect for first aiders taking on this important position within their organisation, however! Do organisations select the right people for these courses and what selection criteria have they if any?

We have often questioned the process of companies' motives and selection criteria for sending someone onto a first aid course. Is it because they have to satisfy their legal requirement to the Health & Safety Executive to have first aiders. Or do they really believe a first aider can make the difference to the outcome of a patient suffering an unexpected accident or illness.


Quite often these people turn up ill prepared, uninformed of their responsibilities as well as their own perceptions of what is expected of them. Having completed the course they are left for the next three years to fend for themselves with no guidance or mentorship.


If you were to ask these first aiders what first aid skills they have done within the last three years, I guarantee it will be either nothing or very little other then putting on a plaster.


We have students come on our courses, we help them gain knowledge and skills, but the one thing we cannot give them is experience, so how do they get it. Any thoughts?


We would like to see selection criteria to be explored by companies to select the right people to undertake this most important role. This criteria might look at the following a person's:


  • Motivation for undertaking the course
  • Attitude
  • Physical/Psychological capabilities
  • Time Commitment
  • Professionalism
  • Understanding a First Aiders Responsibilities


Our responsibilities as tutors is to undertake to develop these people not only with knowledge and skills but indeed to make them competent and confident first aiders.


Please feel free to add your thoughts below, and join in the debate about the selecting the right people as first aiders.

Clive Haddrell CertEd MIfL

Last modified on Wednesday, 9 April 2014
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Clive Haddrell Cert Ed LIQA MSET

NHS Paramedic Tutor, NHS Ambulance Emergency Driving Tutor, FAETC 1&2, Cert/Ed, D32, D33, LIQA. Manual Handling Tutor (RoSPA) and Member of the Society for Education and Training. I have over thirty years experience with the former Avon Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and recently with Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust. My experience includes the role of paramedic tutor, rapid response motorcycle paramedic. For the last 25years paramedic advisor to the well-known BBC television program "Casualty".

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