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Methods of First Aid Certifications

In previous articles, I have discussed two issues I observe with Nigerians learning first aid. They were the willingness to attend first aid training and the training duration.

As a first aid training provider, I want to share my thoughts on the 3rd issue that has been on my mind for quite some time and that I consider the most important: the fascination with certificates and its impact on learning first aid.

Undoubtedly, certificates hold significant value in our society, maybe more so in Nigeria. They serve as tangible proof of acquired knowledge and skills, and for many, they open doors to new career opportunities. However, in the context of first aid trainings, this fascination with certificates may sometimes overshadow the true essence of what should be achieved – empowering individuals to respond effectively and confidently during medical emergencies.

The Achievement vs. Learning Dilemma


As trainers, we encounter numerous enthusiastic learners driven primarily by the desire to earn a certificate. It is based on this you are questioned or searched for: “Do you give certificates?”, “Where can I get a first aid certificate in Lagos?”, etc. It can inadvertently create a check-the-box mentality, where the focus shifts from genuine understanding to merely meeting the requirements for certification. These can lead to a shallow grasp of essential first aid principles, which may compromise the quality of response in real-life situations.

They believe because their training is paid for, they will be awarded certificates, no matter what. Some even think attendance alone suffices (albeit with time spent on the phone or going in and out). No, my dear friend, you must show you are competent. Not perfection, just competence! Nowadays, it is part of the requirements of first aid training certifications that one passes the final test; most Nigerians balk at this. At First Aid by Levande, we emphasize that the tests are not designed for them to fail.

Emphasizing Lifelong Learning

First aid is not just about gaining a certificate but about acquiring life-saving skills that remain relevant throughout life. Our goal should be to instill a culture of lifelong learning, where individuals continuously refine and update their knowledge and techniques to stay prepared for any emergency that might arise. Let them understand what is at stake.

Rethinking Training Approaches

To address this issue, we, as training providers, must rethink our approaches to first aid education. While certifications are undoubtedly valuable, we should place equal emphasis on hands-on practice, scenario-based simulations, and an in-depth understanding of the principles behind each technique. By shifting the focus to acquiring the knowledge and mastering the skills; we can build a more confident first aid community.

Part of this comes from how you teach. I believe that just because you know a subject very well automatically make you a good teacher. No, it does not. Do you have an understanding of the different ways people learn? Do you have the patience to ensure the learner understands what you communicated? Do you know the topic enough to break it down to a 2-year-old?

Collaboration and Awareness

Let’s all join hands to raise awareness about the significance of genuine learning beyond certificates. Encourage individuals to see certifications not as an end goal, but as a stepping stone towards continuous growth and development. In a community such as ours, where the next medical emergency might be around the corner, consider that the next victim might be you or the one you love.

Therefore, we must see the necessity of learning and who it ultimately impacts. If, in all sectors – schools, workplaces, and homes, we encourage a mindset that values achievements and learning as equally crucial components of first aid education, we can move the needle on this issue.

Beyond the Certificate

In conclusion, let us remember that first aid is not merely about earning a certificate; it’s about being confident to care when seconds count. It is about competency, because you have the knowledge, skills, and tools. We should endeavor to ignite a genuine passion for learning, honing our skills, and staying prepared to be the first responders our communities need.

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

About the author 

Dr Tosin Osikoya

Committed to saving lives. One person at a time.

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