Communication is so important

Communication skills are so important.

Communication is a vitally important skill in a  first aid emergency because it helps the first aider get a good mental picture of what has happened and how best to respond to the first aid emergency.

First aiders learn a lot about communication skills during their first aid training course with us. First aiders may have to hand over to ambulance crews or paramedics and hence this being a valuable part of the course.

Communicating with a child is not that much different from communicating with a senior citizen if tackled in a calm compassionate way. Both the child and the senior citizen may be confused and upset so showing compassion and calmness first aiders usually get a good picture of what has happened and provide treatment accordingly. Adults do get upset and sometimes confrontational but good communication skills usually calm things down with them too.

Our first aid training team set scenarios where people will be confrontational so our learners can practice their skills and get some pointers too. Our favourite is a mother and a baby and not letting the first aider have a look at the child. That often puts the learner out of their comfort zone. But with gentle coaxing, it’s usually overcome quickly.

Communication skills are not that difficult are they?

By keeping eye contact with the casualty and talking in a calm way avoiding any jargon or hard to understand words then good communication can be achieved and the picture of what happened starts to grow.

A first aider can quickly find out what has happened, also how it happened and how many people there are involved in the incident, and then the first aider can then plan how to respond more effectively to it.

If you picture someone having a heated or aggressive conversation with you after you have had a traumatic experience then the chances are you are not going to respond to the conversation, and if you do the chances are valuable communication will have been lost.

Also if a casualty doesn’t speak English this can usually be overcome with a bit of thought with a bit of sign language and simple wording. Our MD used a notepad recently with a person who was profoundly deaf but in distress. Then they could communicate by voice and lip reading to the deaf person.

Communication skills are a skill in itself

On all our first aid courses whether they are open courses or group courses we help our first aid learners learn how to communicate more effectively in a first aid situation.

Communication is key between the casualty and the first aider and by asking open questions we can usually get a good picture of what has happened. So communication is key, and during the roleplay part of the course so the first aid learners can hone their communication skills get casualties be difficult if the first aider doesn’t ask the right questions and in the right manner.

The learners get to convey their findings during the feedback session and usually, they get it mostly right if the right questions have been asked.

When someone has been involved in an accident or incident they can quite understandably become emotional and upset and if someone is not compassionate about how they communicate with the person then important information can be lost.

How can we do this better?

If the first aider effectively communicates with a casualty it not only informs the first aider of what is happening but also starts to build trust between the first aider and the casualty which is very important if they are going to consent to a first aider helping them.

The first aider will use some simple rules of communication to quickly find out what has happened and what action needs to be taken, these include:

  • Keeping eye contact with the casualty to build trust between them and the first aider.
  • Tell the casualty the truth is vital because the casualty already knows something is already wrong, but take care not to go into too much depth.
  • Using plain language so the casualty can understand the first aider, especially if English is a second language to them. This will stop any confusion and keep the communication flowing both ways.
  • Allowing time for the casualty to respond to the question asked, I am amazed at how many first aiders don’t wait to get a reply from the casualty.

Body language and tone of the first aider’s voice can convey as much information as can communicate with words. That is why a first aider must remain calm when communicating with a casualty.

communication skills are so important


By keeping calm during a first aid incident and using simple but effective communication to find out what has happened the first aider can respond more effectively to the first aid incident.

First aid training is a life skill not only will you learn how to give first aid, but you will also learn and brush up on your very important communications skills to be an effective first aider whether it be in the workplace, in the home, or out in the public domain. All of our first aid courses are Ofqual regulated and accredited by Qualifications Network UK one of the larger awarding organisations for Health & Safety and First Aid qualifications in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

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