First Aid Course

First Aid Course: The Teacher's Perspective

Good morning to Dr. Stefano Innocenzi dell 'Association of Social Promotion "Health and Solidarity" .

In addition to the medical activity, you are often involved in training activities in the context of the First Aid course, for companies and public and private organizations. As known, the First Aid course is a necessary fulfillment in the context of the Health and Safety at Work legislation (Legislative Decree 81/2008 and subsequent amendments) and therefore represents a training obligation for the people who are designated in the organization as First Aid Officers.


It is commonly believed that the First Aid Course, necessary to fulfill safety obligations, can only be taught by First Aid operators. Can you clarify who is inhabited by the norm to teach in this type of course?

The law requires that the course be taught by a doctor, therefore a doctor registered in the professional association. However there are no prescriptions or limitations in relation to the specialization. Therefore every doctor can be appointed for teaching. In practice, however, a doctor who works daily in the field of emergencies, certainly has not only a better preparation, but also a daily experience that favors the classroom in the sense of being able to provide more concrete cases and explanations.

In any case, regardless of specialization, a good teacher must still know how to teach, and must be able to bring his knowledge to people, even from different backgrounds or professional backgrounds.

A teacher who is also well prepared, but with poor classroom skills, will produce an ineffective training experience.


Those who attend First Aid courses are generally designated by the company.
With what expectations do these people participate in the course?

True, this role is entrusted to people indicated by the company, so typically people come to the course with anegative expectation. They live the course as an obligation, as a strenuous activity, and their expectations with respect to the first aid activity is perceived as an additional burden compared to the tasks already covered. Furthermore, it often happens that for SMEs and in particular very small enterprises, it is the employer himself who takes on the role of First Aid Officer. In this case, the perception of the course as "cost", understood as the cost of the course and the cost of not working, is added to the initial negative expectation.

these initial preconceptions, must be known by the teacher, in order to work well.

At the end of the course, the expectation gradually changes into one positive perception, since we understand the importance of the course not only in corporate life, but also in personal life. In fact, at the end of the course people often stay because they want to continue understanding and asking for clarification.

This is a clear indicator of exceeding those initial expectations.

After all, first aid skills must always be promoted, which should be widespread heritage in citizenship. For example, in Anglo-Saxon contexts, these courses are already carried out in schools.


Is there an ideal type of person to apply for the role of First Aid Officer? Or in any case what are the most useful attitudes to play this role?

To carry out the activity of first aid officer, it is essential for the company to choose a person first balanced, with the feature self-control primarily. The designated person must also be able to contain the emotional aspect, not easily give in to anxiety and panic. Finally another essential feature is that of having a good analysis and evaluation ability, that is, being a person who ponder before acting.

After all, first aid skills should always be promoted, which they should be widespread heritage in citizenship. For example, in Anglo-Saxon contexts, these courses are already carried out in schools.


You can tell us about the teaching methods with which the training activities are carried out.
How is the practical activity distributed during the training activity?

Il First Aid Course can be proposed in two types, depending on the risk level of the company.

The 12-hour course includes 8 hours of theoretical exposure and 4 of practice.

The 16-hour course includes 10 hours of theoretical exposure and 6 of practice.

The theoretical exposure is in fact antechnical activity, which a good teacher manages to manage to avoid tiredness in the interlocutors, enriching it with examples and clarifications. Only through dialogue with the classroom can this part become an essential moment enrichment of participants.

Practical activity involves testing emergency maneuvers, such as:

- resuscitation maneuvers

- unblocking of the airways

- use of the first aid kit for bandages and minor injuries.


Can it happen in the course that people ask the doctor questions or personal cases?

Yes, it is very frequent. The presence of the doctor often causes people to wear personal cases. During the lesson it happens that emergency episodes are told in order to understand the actions taken have been corrected. This strongly enriches the lesson and reassures people about their intervention skills.

On the other hand, this is what happens during breaks or at the end of the lesson, in which personal cases are often reported to the doctor for specialist advice.


What are the most difficult activities to carry out during the course? By the teacher and by the participants?

We must dispel an urban legend who is often heard about first aid courses. Resuscitation maneuvers with the manikin are in fact good, the manikin, contrary to what is said, does not die. Certainly for this result, each participant will have to try and repeat 2/3 times the maneuvers to effectively deal with the emergency.


From the point of view of the participants the most difficult part to perform is the linked one to the ventilatory assistance of the viae areas. This is in fact a difficult maneuver, even for healthcare professionals, so it is normal that it is the most complex one. An incorrect execution, in fact, does not allow the introduction of air in the streets areas with very serious complications. Contrary to what is believed instead for people the proof of compressions in case of cardiac arrest it is a maneuver that is more simple to learn.


While from the point of view of the teaching the most delicate and most difficult aspect of teaching is to overcome the stereotype and the false belief about the criminal liability first aid. Over time the belief has spread that intervening in an emergency can be risky on a criminal level, in case of error in the procedures performed. The fear of making a mistake, and therefore of being the subject of a compensatory criminal order, is in fact deeply rooted in people. In fact, the opposite is true, that is, criminal liability is linked to "Missed or omitted help".

Getting past these beliefs is essential in this type of course.


Are there differences between participants from the healthcare world compared to other corporate participants?

There are no macroscopic differences between first aid course participants compared to other corporate participants. However, participants who come from a health context are certainly more open to understanding and the need to acquire first aid skills.


In society, in recent years much has been said about raising awareness of citizenship, defibrillators in public places and emergency intervention. What are the "minimum" behaviors that every citizen should act in an emergency?

Always intervene by contacting the first aid services, keeping calm and providing the necessary information to the intervention agencies, and trying to provide assistance according to your skills.

First Aid Course

Thanks to Stefano Innocenzi for the kind collaboration.