Why First Aid is an Essential Skill

See also: Compassion

There are so many unpredictable events and experiences that can happen whilst playing this wonderful game called life. Although you hope it will never happen to you, there is always the chance that at any given moment, you may need to respond quickly in an emergency and potentially have to administer first aid.

There are thousands of scenarios that could occur instantly, such as car accidents, heart attacks, drownings and acts of nature such as earthquakes or tsunamis. With such an array of unpredictable events, it is much better to have the skills and not need them, rather than needing the skills and not having them.

When first aid is administered, it is a stepping stone to potentially saving a person's life. It may not be the cure or the surgery that is the definitive step to survival, but it can be the reason why someone is able to make it onto the operating table. For example, if you have come across a motor-vehicle accident, having even the most basic first aid skills, you would be aware that you need to turn off the car engine, place unconscious patients in the recovery position (when appropriate to move them), control any bleeding by applying pressure, and treat anyone conscious for shock by giving them space and keeping them warm. These are all simple steps that are very easily achieved, and they can change the entire outcome of the accident for everyone involved as you never know how long the emergency services will take to reach the scene. Therefore, you don’t have to be a qualified medical professional to play a significant role in saving lives, you simply need to have some basic first aid skills.

Having first aid skills is the difference between knowing how to dislodge food from a choking person's throat, and getting it stuck even further. It is the difference between causing further damage by moving a patient or recognising that they need to be stabilised before administering treatment. It is the difference between casualties and survivors.

Having first aid skills is essential and can literally be life-saving. It only takes one day to educate yourself, and the pros of doing so most certainly outweigh the cons (if there are any)! You can easily book a course online, such as with the highly educated and award-winning team at Glasgow First Aid Courses.

By attending a course and gaining first aid skills, not only will you learn the basic skills of administering first aid, you will also learn how to compose yourself within an emergency. One of the most important factors in a medical emergency is the ability to remain calm. It is not possible to help those in need if you are panicked and screaming, finding yourself unable to think straight and not making any sense. You need to be able to make quick decisions, call for emergency services and be able to explain where you are, how many patients there are, and what has happened. Depending on the circumstances and surroundings, you may even need to instruct bystanders on what to do, whether this is diverting traffic, getting water and blankets, or administering first aid if there is more than one patient. By attending a course, you have an immediate advantage in an emergency situation, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve under pressure simply by developing this particular skill set.

First aid is not always about emergencies and life-threatening injuries. It can be as simple as treating a grazed knee or a twisted ankle. Although often not requiring a visit to a medical professional service, it is a convenient skill to know how to treat minor ailments with confidence. Knowing how to properly clean and dress a wound will in handy the next time you are near someone who has tripped over and skinned their knee. Even in the times that you roll your own ankle, you’ll know to rest the foot, ice it, apply pressure, and elevate it.

First aid skills will prove useful in everyday life, and you’ll be surprised at how many small opportunities present themselves once you have mastered the essential skills.

The Fundamental Objectives of First Aid:

  • Preserve life - By administering first aid immediately after injury, you are giving the patient a higher chance of survival. Whether this is placing them in a recovery position so that they don’t choke on blood or vomit, or giving CPR before having access to a defibrillator, each of these steps are delaying further injury or death and preserving the life of the patient as you wait for qualified medical professionals to arrive and take over.

  • Prevention- Alongside making sure the patient's health is not deteriorating (such as preventing further blood loss by applying pressure), part of administering first aid is preventing any further escalation of injury and illness, which may not necessarily be by administering physical first aid. The skills you acquire during a first aid course will include the knowledge of how to keep yourself and the patients safe from further harm, whether it be cutting off a power supply, diverting traffic, or moving the patient to a different location to administer first aid.

  • Promoting recovery - By administering first aid as quickly as possible, you are setting the patient up for a speedier recovery. A prime example of this would be in the case of a burn, where you should run the injured area under cold water as soon as possible. The faster this is done, the less damage the burn can inflict on the patient, which decreases the amount of time they will need to recover from the injury.

At the end of the day, first aid skills are essential for such a variety of reasons. Not only can they play a major role in saving lives, but they will also give you the knowledge, confidence and skills to navigate everyday injuries.

Whether you want to learn first aid for personal reasons, or need to do so due to the nature of your career, it is an excellent set of skills to acquire. You never know when you will need them.

About the Author

Nicki Saunders is a content writer from New Zealand, who has always had a love for reading and writing. Nicki works full-time as senior medical administrator for the Bay of Plenty’s leading radiology company, and writes in her free-time due to her passion for the industry.