Some things can be taught with a pen and paper and a worksheet, but other skills demand a hands on learning environment in order to be taught in a full and comprehensive way. In a mathematics class you don’t have to act out the addition and subtraction to understand it – but when taking your first aid qualifications things are a bit different. In order to completely teach first aid skills, it is essential to incorporate hands-on role play scenarios where course participants can act out their skills.

Why is this style of learning so important and so much more effective than learning first aid from a text book? Here are some of the reasons why role play scenarios are so often used in first aid qualifications.

Catching You off Guard

When you are being quizzed and tested with role play scenarios when taking your first aid qualifications, your instructor will try to challenge you by throwing different hazards and complications into the situation. For example, they might let you know that the victim you have come across is lying in a puddle next to some live wires, or that they have a broken arm as well as the fact that they are not breathing. Figuring out how to deal with these hazards and complications will really test your first aid knowledge and give you a better understanding of how to help any victim you might come across.

Getting a Feel for Things

When delivering CPR, you should find the point on the chest that is between the nipples or three fingers up from the xiphoid process – which is a small piece of cartilage at the bottom of the sternum. Then, you should press with firm downward pulses on this point in a steady rhythm. It’s one thing to read this information and understand it, but it is another thing completely to practice it.

What does the xiphoid process really feel like? How hard should you really press down? Should you be standing on your knees? How far do you lean forward while giving chest compressions? By practicing locating the right point on a partner’s chest, then practicing giving real compressions on a CPR dummy, you will get a feel for the sensations first hand.

Embedding It into Your Muscle Memory

Once you have practiced these body movements rather than just reading about them, you will have a much better understanding of how CPR works. If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation when you have to deliver CPR, your body will already have a muscle memory that will come in handy.

Many people who have received first aid qualifications and have been in emergency situations say that they felt their training “take over” and their bodies simply went onto autopilot – following through with the right procedure for the situation. This is a very valuable response, rather than simply freezing or panicking, as it will increase the chances of survival in such a situation.