Life Saving Skills for Health and Social Care Students


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Heart Start Sixty Advanced Level Health and Social Care students will collect their first certificates of the year as they receive lifesaving skills in their first few weeks at OSFC. They are receiving a series of workshops, from Heart Start Oldham, to improve their knowledge and ability to deliver emergency response assistance to those in life threatening situations.

Using life-like models, students have been rehearsing the steps to take should they come across a casualty that is unconscious and requiring immediate assistance, or more seriously, a casualty who is unconscious and not breathing. Students have developed an in-depth understanding of their responsibilities whilst waiting for professional help to arrive, learning the correct recovery positions for casualties and practicing the emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques. Students also had a unique opportunity to get to grips with a real automated external defibrillator (AED), learning the important procedure for administering an electric shock to reboot a person’s heart.

The workshops have been provided as part of the Health and Social Care courses for the last 12 years and course leader, Lisa Monaghan, says over 1000 students have completed the additional training. “We’ve had a fantastic relationship with Heart Start Oldham that has seen so many students enhance what they are taught on our Health and Social Care subjects. We have been blown away by how involved the students get and would be really keen to know how many lives they have saved since we started over 12 years ago.” Course tutor Gemma Neild added that, “At this time of the year, the transition from school to college can be quite daunting. We time these sessions early in the course as a great way to break the ice. The impact of external facilitators also supports students to think beyond the classroom and look for ways to engage with the community to gain valuable experience.”

Amy Hughes, a student taking part in the workshops, volunteered herself to be the first person to use an AED in her class said of the experience, “I’ve enjoyed learning more about this area and have some previous knowledge as my mum used to foster and we needed to be trained up to deal with emergencies. Hopefully I never have to, but, I feel much more confident should I need to use these skills in the future, at work, or with family.”

Everyone taking part in the sessions are set to receive a certificate of completion. Like most of the students studying Health and Social Care at OSFC, Amy is looking forward to a future in the social care sector and is confident this award will boost her chances. “I’ve already visited Liverpool Hope University and really want to go there to study social care. This experience, along with everything else that is ahead of me here at OSFC, will give me a great chance.”

Alan Whitehead, one of a small team of volunteer facilitators, outlined that these sessions are part of a wider initiative to improve the teaching of life support skills across Oldham. “We have recently launched a primary schools program to support the work we have been doing for over 13 years with community groups and Oldham Sixth Form College. I’ve been coming to deliver these sessions for the past 12 years and every time it is brilliant. It takes quite a bit of man power to deliver them and we often have 4 or 5 volunteer facilitators delivering each session in small groups. We aim to create as much one-to-one practical support as possible so that people feel confident enough to save someone’s life should they ever need to and believe me, we have lots of examples of when they have.”

Alan finished the session by highlighting how important these new skills are to our students. He recalled a story of where two OSFC students, a little under two years ago, saved a man’s life on their way home from college. Travelling on the bus, the students provided emergency assistance to an elderly gentleman who began suffering from a heart attack. Employing the steps they had learnt just a week previously, the 2 young ladies managed to provide CPR assistance to the gentleman before paramedics arrived and resuscitated him. The students were thanked by the man and his family and they expressed that without the training they had received in their session at OSFC, they wouldn’t have known what to do.

If you’re interested in a Health and Social Care course and would like to develop life-saving skills at OSFC, come and visit us at our Open Days on Saturday 17 October, or Saturday 14 November, from 10am-2pm.

To learn more about Health and Social Care courses at OSFC, or to apply now, please visit www.osfc.ac.uk/courses/social-science

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