In this post we’ll preview some of the topics commonly covered, so you’ll know what to look forward to when you take the CPR/First Aid plunge. Depending on the course you take, you’ll learn CPR skills (which covers CPR for all ages, AED & choking), CPR for adults, and/or CPR for children. First Aid covers common scenarios including: bleeding, burns, poisoning, shock, and respiratory emergencies.
We’ll break it down for you in more detail, but in a nutshell, you’ll leave your CPR and First Aid classes with the knowledge, skills, experience, and confidence you need to help save a life.
Knowledge: What You Need to Know About CPR and First Aid
Today, many courses are “blended,” which means a substantial portion of the instruction occurs online. However, traditional, instructor-led training which allows participants to complete the coursework in one setting may is also available for large groups or corporate settings. Either way, once you’ve completed the required lessons and passed the accompanying skills, you’ll complete your certification with hands-on, in-person training.
Topics include how to identify sudden cardiac arrest, understanding the links in the chain of survival; the qualities of high performance CPR; the importance of personal safety and standard precautions; the steps to assess an unresponsive person; how to use an AED on an adult, child, or infant; how to place an unresponsive but breathing person in the recovery position; and how to recognize and provide treatment for a choking adult, child, or infant.
As part of your First Aid Certification, you’ll first learn what your role as a provider is. As with CPR training, you’ll also learn how to recognize an emergency, why it’s important to offer to help, how to move an injured person safely and effectively, and the importance of standard precautions and protective barriers. You’ll also learn how to conduct primary assessments on responsive and unresponsive individuals which will, in turn, help you determine the best form of treatment.
Skills: What You Need to Do as a CPR or First Aid Provider
Once you’ve acquired some basic CPR and First Aid knowledge, you’ll dive into the specific skills needed to perform both CPR and First Aid.
You’ll learn to perform one-person CPR, CPR with rescue breaths, Hands Only CPR, how to administer CPR as part of a 2 rescuer team, and how to administer a shock from an AED. You’ll also learn how to perform CPR on adults, children, and infants. It’s worth noting that CPR-only courses may cover adults only or infants and children. Be sure to sign up for the course that’s right for you!
Your First Aid course work will cover how to control bleeding; what to do in the event of a head, neck or back injury; how to assess and treat injuries to limbs; how to respond to burns; how to treat minor injuries; how to identify and assess altered mental status; what to do in the event someone is experiencing breathing difficulty or shortness of breath; how to respond to chest pain, severe pressure, or chest discomfort; best steps for treating a victim of poisoning; and how to respond to environmental emergencies such as hypothermia or heat stroke.
Experience: Putting CPR and First Aid Lessons into Practice
Textbook, classroom, and online learning is great, but there’s nothing like hands-on training to reinforce your coursework. As part of your CPR training, you’ll have the opportunity to practice CPR with rescue breathing, AED use, and working as part of a 2 rescuer team.
Your instructor will also review your First Aid knowledge, taking you through the steps you’ve already learned to control bleeding, Epi Pen use, patient assessment, and more.
Confidence: Being Ready to Help (While Understanding Your Limitations)
Although you’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to help someone in need, you’ll also learn about your boundaries and the limits of your abilities. Knowing what you can and cannot do is a huge part of building confidence. As a CPR/First Aid provider, your job is to help someone who is ill and injured and to keep them safe until more advanced medical treatment arrives. That’s it!