Death by Powerpoint

If I walked into a classroom and saw this…

Not how we do it

…I would probably turn around and walk back out again.

This kind of regimental, repetitive teaching might be OK for North Korea but not here at Beyond First Aid. While I agree 100% that first aid is a hands on art that needs practise, it is also very much about the person in front of you. TLC stands for Tender Loving Care, not Total Lack of Concern. We teach people, not robots.

I don’t think Artificial Intelligence has found it’s way into a first aid kit just yet

Our instructors know their subject inside out, they need to, they are nurses, ambulance and operating theatre staff, we have Doctors who work in Accident and Emergency, and people who have written articles on emergency medicine for medical journals. It is safe to say that we really do know our stuff, and practise it regularly.

So why do we only teach first aid then, why don’t we teach advanced surgical procedures or obstetrics and gynaecology? Well the answer is simple, while we do have people that can teach these things, we can’t all do it.

Take one of our nurses for example, she is amazing at dressings, drug administration, and when it comes to people skills and even palliative care, nobody comes close, but I wouldn’t ask her to perform open heart surgery. Our Ambulance guys, pretty good at scraping people off the road, performing amazing life saving procedures in supermarket car parks, but I wouldn’t expect him to anaesthetize someone prior to a total knee replacement.

What we all have in common is the basics, we have all done CPR for real, on real people. We have all saved lives when people are suffering catastrophic blood loss. I’m pretty sure we have all had a hand in bringing someone into the world, and I know we have all been there when someone has left it. It is because of this experience that we are able to pass on our knowledge in a way that sometimes doesn’t even seem like teaching. We occasionally don’t even use powerpoint, I know, we’re so Rock ’n’ Roll here at Beyond First Aid, a truly rebellious bunch. This will knock your socks off too, we don’t have a single box, on any paperwork, that needs ticking. Our customers use us because we pass on knowledge, and leave students knowing what to do, we are not lovers of paperwork, we are lovers of teaching how to fix broken people, and make the sick better.

But… hands up if you’ve ever been sat in a classroom, lecture theatre or even the local pub, when someone has told you how to do something. They’ve gone into great detail of how a certain something is done, they tell you how they have done it, once, back in 1998. However, when you ask them why something is done that way, they freeze, maybe glare at you with emotionless eyes. They say something like “because we do” or “I’ll tell you later” or my favourite, “I don’t answer random questions in class” which translates to “I’ll Google that during lunch, tell you the answer later, and make out I knew all along”. Well, I have, and it makes me wonder why someone is teaching a subject they don’t know about, beyond that is, the level at which they’re teaching it. Give me enough time and I’m sure I could teach a monkey how to click a button and forward the powerpoint show onto the next slide. Give an actor a script, and they can be a convincing teacher, doctor, paramedic or Jedi Knight. But, as anyone who has ever talked to a person in a call centre will know, ask a question like, “before you move on, could you explain… why?” and you’ll be met with an embarrassing silence. If you’re lucky they may just repeat the last thing they said, in the hope that you’ll forget the question you asked in the first place, like some “Strong and Stable” politician.

Well, not here!

Come on a Beyond First Aid course, and ask away! I may at some point mention that we need to breath, you may ask “how?” I say that we expand our chest cavity to suck in air, some of which is oxygen, which every cell in your body needs function, apart from when they’re doing their anaerobic stuff. Then you’ll say “how does our chest expand?” I’ll explain what the diaphragm does along with ribs and intercostal spaces. Someone may ask why we need oxygen in the first place, so I tell them about cellular respiration. I’ll stop short of giving my little super-fast-lightning-speed-talk on ATP though, as we have an Anatomy and Physiology course for that, and we like to make sure our students excel in the basics. In short, we give the students a knowledge that may one day, save someone’s life.

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