I have been teaching first aid since 2016 and I have come to understand that Nigerians have a lot of preconceptions and assumptions about first aid trainings.
A reason could be due to our healthcare system. Every Janet, Bola and Hauwa is a “doctor”, “nurse” and “pharmacist” already, therefore what is there in learning first aid?
The main issues are with the willingness to attend a first aid training, the duration of the training and the fascination with certificates.
Nigerians are quite green about first aid, there are a greater percentage that have never attended a first aid training compared to the few who have. However, everyone knows it… we will get back to this.
Willingness to attend a first aid training:
There are two people under this category:
1. Those nominated by the organizations
2. Those who are travelling abroad to work.
Very few Nigerians take it upon themselves to pay to learn first aid. The majority of those who do are parents, especially Mums with babies or toddlers. Due to the fact that they paid, they are obviously willing to learn but as stated earlier, they are in the minority… possibly the 0.000000001%.
Those who are travelling abroad, need first aid training for most jobs they might likely apply for abroad as it gives them an edge. Are they therefore willing to learn? Not actually. You see they wouldn’t have paid to learn if not for the fact it is a compulsory requirement. Therefore, they are looking for the easiest way to get the certificates as it is usually a rush request. They want it in the fastest time possible and therein lies their willingness and not for the learning, sadly.
For those nominated by their organization, there are 2 kinds, those who have never attended a first aid training and those who have.
First of all, they are not paying for the training, the company is. How does it affect their willingness to attend and learn? In all the ways possible!
Yes, there is already a resistance by employees to attend “trainings” generally Except there are added perks, or sits something especially interesting, they are usually not rushing out the door to get there. Once they understand it is a first aid training? Eye rolls. There is a whole lot of “I am busy” or “I have an important meeting”, so companies do a lot or scheduling to make them available.
We have not even talked about the 2 kinds of categories those nominated by their companies fall into. Those who have never attended a first aid training before and those who have.
Interestingly enough, they both have the same unwillingness to learn, they both come in as if they know it all already and that it is a waste of time to be in class. The body language as they come in screams, “I don’t want to be here!”. Due to this, no matter the kind of training – for-knowledge only, for certification or for demonstration, we give a brief rundown of what they will expect and the duration of the class. There is always the inevitable, “Ah!”, “So long?”, I have a meeting” or “Can I bring my laptop and continue working?” Sigh.
In one demonstration class for Teachers paid for by an organization and was to last 3 hours; a participant at the start gave me his apologies that he had somewhere to attend and that he would leave in less than an hour. He stayed till the end and even more! He had questions to ask and compliments to give on the training! He said he had been to a few and it wad boring, he didn’t learn anything but we loved how we broke it down to the basics and he now understands what he was supposed to learn.
And that is always what happens, our trainings are not what they are used to, the teaching is different, the practical classes are enjoyable and fun and they truly learn a lot. The thing is, you have to experience our class to believe it is worth it. To be a good first aid trainer, to impart that knowledge you have, one has to be a good teacher and it is mandatory you have a kind of teaching qualification.
When we state the terms and conditions because we take it seriously and we want you to do the same, you usually can’t understand why. Afterall, the others don’t have all that.
The thing is, first aid deals with people in a vulnerable position. To learn to help, it should be under the right conditions, using the right equipment and aids to help your learning. This is the only way to have the confidence to act IF it becomes necessary.
Most times, you think because you watched it being done ore read about it, automatically translates into you knowing what to do, how you should do it and why? It doesn’t.
Getting the most out of your first aid training and even generally being prepared to act in a medical emergency starts with the willingness to learn.
In subsequent articles, we will talk about the issues of the duration of the training and the fascinations of certificates with learning first aid in Nigeria.