I spent my last day of the term 2 holidays doing professional development, not a problem in itself, but it does highlight some questions I have.
The PD was workplace first aid training and was organised by our health & safety guru, volunteer fireman and fellow year 5 & 6 teacher @Generalrudd. The course, run by Ambulance EMT, was the second he'd organised in my time at HNS, although the first was for the year 5/6 kids. This wasn't just teachers-only PD, it was set up as school-wide so all support staff were also required for the last day. I've ready many posts and plenty of tweets about the variety of professional development and whether school-wide is always appropriate and even this had some staff not wanting to give up the day or unwilling to participate.
Our training involved rescue breathing, CPR, defibrillator, bandaging, recovery position, epi pens and most of the basics you would expect from this type of course. As a school we're investigating purchasing a defibrillator, before I started at HNS a staff member had heart attack and it was through the knowledge and skills of staff that this person survived so one can understand the schools thinking.
My questions though are as follows:
Am I prepared skillwise to help a child with a significant injury?
Yesterday was the third time I have completed some first-aid training, not once have I ever completed a refresher or renewal course so the first two certificates lapsed well before I became a teacher. Here I am again having completed the training and in a better position to help others, especially with some of the child-focussed learning we did yesterday. I'm incredibly fortunate, @Generalrudd is far more trained and experienced in delivering first aid but this is a double-edged sword for a complete novice like myself. I would hate to panic or freeze if I ever got into a situation where these skills were needed so without testing myself I will never know.
In my time at HNS we've had a few broken bones and dislocations, none while I've been on duty so I had no involvement but last year a student did have a bad accident while my class were outside. Then, we deferred to @Generalrudd, just as I would now although I feel I'm in a better position to assist him. This has to be a good thing.
The double edge of this sword is that I know that it is unlikely that any school I move to in the future will have someone as trained (first aid / volunteer fireman) as my colleague, placing all pressure squarely back on my shoulders.
How do other schools approach first-aid and first-aid training?
The only other schools I have experience with were on my three practicums, none of these schools had first aid training while I was there. I also know that they didn't expect all staff to have first aid training. But what about other schools? I know one school that a golfing buddy is at has regular school-wide training facilitated by St. Johns.
But first aid training doesn't seem to be top of mind, I'd love to have people share with me the approach taken at their school.
Should first aid training be a basic requirement for all teachers?
We include the safety of our students as an absolute imperative in our job, we have all sorts of systems to cope with any number of interventions but how come we don't include first aid training as a basic requirement? I know the cost is significant to have all staff trained, but surely having only a few staff trained at every school is a rather haphazard approach also. Clearly, we can't be trained for every student need as this list would be quite large (without even worrying about first aid training). I'm just a little surprised that this isn't at the heart of caring for our students.
I fully appreciate that we have so many responsibilities, requirements and commitments in our ever-growing job description but having undertaken first aid training I felt the need to air my thoughts. Feel free to disagree, laugh this off as an inexperienced viewpoint or simply ignore...