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Nurses given first aid training

Concerns over falling skill levels have prompted the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to enlist nurses in first aid and serious incident management training.

While qualified nurses are already expected to have basic knowledge of first aid, new standards drawn up after consultation with the British Red Cross and St John Ambulance will give the live-saving technique more prominence.

Under the new guidelines, nurses will also be instructed in incident management for the first time.

Garth Long, the NMC's project leader for the review of pre-registration requirements, said the public demands that nurses are trained to cope in a crisis.

Mr Long revealed the new requirements "emphasised" the need for first aid more than ever before, but stressed that educating bodies would ultimately decide how it is taught.

He added: "Incident management is also now included, which is how you would organise yourself if there was an incident like a car accident.

"This includes questions like: 'Who is injured? Who is the priority? Who needs my care first? What do I need to do and who do I need to call?'"

Although he stressed the importance of the changes in training, Mr Long insisted that the NMC was not calling for nurses to be sent out to incidents, but rather to instruct them to be able to cope with other situations.

"This is more about public expectation," he added.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"As a nurse tutor, I included a first aid course in the commom foundation unit at Wealden College of Health & Social Care in Redhill, Surrey, way back in 1988. By the end of the unit, the students were not only qualified in first aid but got through their trauma module with greater confidence. Other tutors who took advantage of the training often failed and became a
real embarassment. The training had to be stopped for that reason" - Kresh Ramanah, London