How do you choose your CPR trainer?

I belong to a forum where recently CPR training and CPR trainers were discussed, it showed how difficult it can be to find a credible and reputable trainer who is willing to work with you.  This prompted me to write this blog and to share what I would consider when looking for a CPR trainer.  When your update is only an annual event you need to be sure of what you’re getting.

As a CPR and medical emergency trainer I deal predominantly with businesses who have to have annual CPR updates, these are usually Dental or GP practices.  I appreciate when someone contacts me that they have limited resources and that it can sometimes be difficult to decide where to invest, so I thought I would share the kinds of things you may want to consider.


What training do you need?

The first thing to consider is are there any regulations around the level of training you require.  The Resuscitation Council published new guidelines in November 2013 for Dental and GP practices and the HSE provide guidance on conducting your First Aid needs assessment.  For Dental professionals there are specific CPD requirements from the GDC that recommend undertaking 10 hours of medical emergency training in each CPD cycle.


How long have you got?

The next aspect I would consider is time, how long a session would you like and what is conducive to your team learning?  2 hours over lunch might sound like a convenient solution but will this suit your team?  What about a twilight session?  Have you got full time staff who after a long day will need to concentrate on training?  Do you have staff who need to be able to do the school run and may not be able to start early or stay late?  There are always constraints on our time but it’s important to appreciate the skill mix amongst your team and the content that needs to be covered.

Could you devote more time in order that topics can be covered in sufficient depth?  You’d be surprised what gets forgotten in between courses.  I find when I run short sessions there is at least one person who comments in the evaluations that they felt rushed.

My session is usually 3.5 hours.  This allows for 1-1.5 hours on medical emergencies and to go through all the emergency kit and drugs, then the remainder of the time to cover CPR for adults and children, the recovery position and use of the defibrillator.  This ensures everyone gets lots of practise and the opportunity to ask questions.

There isn’t one size that fits all, it depends on your team members what will work best.


Where and how do you want your training delivered?

Do you want your training on or off site?  The advantage of on-site training is that you can really focus on how you would manage a medical emergency on your premises.  It’s also possible to go through all your emergency equipment and ensure familiarity amongst the whole team.  It’s also often more convenient for the team.  Lots of my practices choose to have their training delivered on-site for all these reasons.  It’s important though to ensure you have sufficient room for everyone to sit comfortably and be able to concentrate.

However, it is also possible to attend courses off-site.  It may be that they are available at your local hospital.  Some of these courses are run in a Simulation room which if you ever have the opportunity I would thoroughly recommend, it is an excellent learning opportunity and a good way to test your knowledge and team work.  There are also courses available that are run like my sessions with the traditional ‘Little Anne’ manikins that you’ll be used to.

Some of the hospitals will also provide on-site training for you so it’s worth enquiring.

First Aid courses tend to be run off-site as most businesses don’t require so many First Aiders that they fill a course.  Also there are regulations about the amount of space you need for a First Aid course.

Some practices like to make occasional use of simulation type courses and the other years use a trainer to provide training on their premises.

If you’ve decided to have on-site training and you are sure about what you need and the time you have available next comes the all important question.


How do you find a reputable trainer?

Lots of us now if we need anything will turn to the internet.  Then comes the science of Web Design!  This is huge business and lots of people make their business promising that they can improve sales.  I’m sure for those of you who have a website, like me, regularly get emails promising this.  So how do you choose?

When I look for a trainer I look for evidence of experience both clinical and teaching.  What level do they teach at?  Do they specialise with certain types of business?  If that’s a match to your business then they’re more likely to understand your regulations.  Do they still practise what they preach?  Are they still working in their field?  Working in their field ensures they remain up to date with current practise and if this is what you’re being taught then that’s good to know.  Obviously this is easier if you’re looking at independent trainers rather than large organisations, such as St John’s, as you should know who will be delivering your training.

When you look at their profile do they appear passionate about what they teach?  This is annual training and you want to make sure that your trainer is passionate about what they do, this should ensure that you have a fun and enjoyable session.

Will they look after you in between your courses?  Will they be a point of contact for you?  CPR is not your dedicated field but it is theirs so they should be willing to provide an after service for you.  I have a great relationship with my Practices, the whole team knows that if they have a query they can contact me and I will try and help.  This will be especially important as the new resuscitation guidelines come out in October 2015 and we will be expected to implement them into practise by early 2016.  My newsletters and blogs at the end of this year will be devoted to the new guidelines so that everyone gets to see what’s changed.

Also don’t forget personal recommendations, you could ask your friends in your professional network.  Also your local hospital may know someone in your local area that they would be happy to recommend.  When calling the hospital ask for the resuscitation or clinical skills training department and they may be able to help.  Also as mentioned above some hospital training departments will provide on-site training for you so it may be worth enquiring about that too.


How do you choose?

These are my thoughts on how I would choose, I hope you found it useful.

It’s important to remember that knowledge does get lost if you’re not using it.  I recently wrote a blog suggesting ways to keep up to date with your CPR and medical emergency training in between courses which may be useful to you too.

I’d be pleased if you’d like to share your thoughts in the comments below.  If you’d like to discuss your training needs with me please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.