Communication is so important

Communication skills are so important.

First aiders learn a lot about communication skills during their first aid training course with us. If handled calmly and compassionately, communicating with a child is not that different from communicating with a senior citizen.

Both the child and the senior citizen may be confused and upset, so by showing compassion and calmness, first aiders usually get a good picture of what has happened and how best to respond to the first aid emergency.

While adults do occasionally become agitated and confrontational, effective communication techniques also help to diffuse conflict with them.

A mother and her infant who will not let the first aider look at the child is our favourite scenario because it pushes learners outside of their comfort zone but can usually be overcome with gentle encouragement.

Our first aid training team sets up confrontational scenarios so that our learners can practice their skills and get some feedback too.

Communication skills are not that difficult are they?

A first aider can quickly ascertain what has happened, how it happened, and how many people are involved in the incident. If you perceive someone having an angry or heated conversation with you after they have gone through a traumatic experience, it is likely that you will not respond to the conversation, and if you do, it is likely that important communication will have been lost.

First aiders should maintain eye contact and speak calmly to ensure good communication and understanding of the incident. If a casualty is not English-speaking, basic sign language and simple wording can be used. For example, a notepad can be used to communicate with a profoundly deaf but distressed casualty, allowing for voice and lip reading. Avoiding angry or heated conversations can help maintain important communication.

Communication skills are a skill in itself

All of our first aid courses, whether they are group or open courses, focus on teaching our students how to communicate more effectively in a first aid situation. We find that open questions help us get a clear picture of what has happened, so communication is crucial.

Additionally, during role-play scenarios, students can practice their communication skills because it can be challenging to help casualties if the first aider does not ask the right questions in the right way.

During the feedback session, the students present their findings, and if the right questions are asked, they usually get it mostly right.

People who have been involved in accidents or incidents can understandably become emotional and upset, and if someone is not compassionate in their communication with them, crucial information may be missed.

communication skills are so important

How can we do this better?

A first aider will use a few basic rules of communication to quickly ascertain what has happened and what needs to be accomplished. If they communicate with a casualty effectively, they not only inform themselves of what is happening but also begin to establish trust with them, which is crucial if the casualty is going to consent to a first aider helping them. The rules of communication include:

  • Maintaining eye contact helps establish trust between the first aider and the casualty.
  • It is important to tell the truth, but avoid going into too much detail.
  • If the casualty does not speak English well, use plain language to ensure they understand the first aider. This will prevent misunderstandings and ensure both parties communicate.
  • Finally, give the casualty enough time to answer any questions you may have. It is surprising how many first aiders get this so wrong by not waiting for an answer.

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


First aid training is a life skill; in addition to learning how to administer first aid, you will also learn and brush up on very important communication skills to be an effective first aider, whether it be in the workplace, at home, or out in the public.

All of our first aid courses are Ofqual-regulated and accredited by Qualifications Network UK, one of the larger awarding organisations for health and safety and first aid qualifications in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

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