Empowering parents with life-saving skills

As part of my four-month rotation in integrated paediatrics I was lucky enough to take part in monthly teaching of basic life support to parents. By far, this has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences I have had during this four-month rotation and as a doctor.

These sessions are free and held in the evenings at St Mary’s Hospital in the children’s outpatients department. We teach parents what to do if their child or a child they are with becomes unresponsive or is choking. We do this through simulated scenarios allowing parents to practise on mannequins in a safe and friendly environment. It is very hands-on and parents are free to ask any questions they have throughout the session.

Parents are such amazing students and really engage with the sessions - when it comes to their children they want to know everything. For me this has been really refreshing: in my short time as a doctor I have been involved in a number of teaching sessions but have never met the same enthusiasm as with these parents. The parents always leave feeling empowered having gained the skills to potentially help save a child’s life.

‘Just thank you!’

‘Brilliant session.’

‘Staff were friendly and made me feel at ease and not nervous.’

The feedback has always been good from the sessions but it has been mentioned that the sessions do not seem that well-advertised. Many parents say they only found out about them through a friend or the day before. Going forward this is something we need to work on and hopefully this blog could be the first step in doing so.

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