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Emergency Care Training in the Community

25 May 2005

New Zealand Resuscitation Council Introduces Initiatives to Enhance the Quality of Emergency Care Training in the Community.

Two new initiatives have been announced this week by the Education Board of the New Zealand Resuscitation Council (NZRC). These are intended to enhance the quality of emergency care training delivered to laypeople and workplace first aiders.

The Education Board of the NZRC is:

Introducing the option of a new annual certification for emergency care instructors in the community. This will address the desirability for a nationally recognized certificate of competence for emergency care instructors.

Extending its national program of health professional emergency care training courses into the lay community. This will allow trained instructors to deliver nationally standardized, integrated training courses across the broad range of lay and health professional groups It will enable lay people to be awarded with the NZRC “Certificate of Resuscitation and Emergency Care” at each of these levels.

Emergency Care Instructor Certificate NZRC General Manager Pip Mason said the new "Emergency Care Instructor Certificate (ECI) will formally assess the knowledge, skills and teaching ability of lay, and workplace instructors. Certified instructors will be entitled to use the term "NZRC Approved, New Zealand Emergency Care Instructor" or the letters ANZECI. The annual certification will assist instructors in their professional development through credible, independent assessment of their abilities. The certification will help reassure the end user, especially when considering one of the less familiar emergency care providers, many of whom provide excellent training.”

A National Program for Emergency Care Training In 2002 the NZRC developed national courses used throughout New Zealand hospitals for training health professional staff. The NZRC is now introducing similar courses to the lay community. Known as “CORE”, these courses will provide a series of 7 graded courses from a school child (CORE 1), through to doctors (CORE 7). For each of the 7 levels, course participants can be awarded the NZRC “Certificate of Resuscitation and Emergency care” if successful in a formal assessment of skills and knowledge.

A CORE course can be delivered by any skilled instructor who has been trained in its delivery. The trained instructor uses a specifically developed set of guideline texts, workbooks, audio-visual material and formal assessment tools to deliver the program. This will allow any independent instructor to deliver a nationally standardized course of the highest quality.

Dr Andy Swain from the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine believes the extension of CORE to the lay community is timely. "Since its introduction, the higher level health professional courses have become the standard for basic emergency care training of doctors, nurses, dentists and military personnel in New Zealand. It is therefore logical to extend the program into the lay community".

Associate Professor Duncan Galletly, Chair of the NZRC Education Board said "the concept of a graded series of emergency care courses for the entire New Zealand community is a novel and internationally important departure from the traditional division between lay "first aiders" and health professionals.

The CORE series will provide seamless, standardized, high quality training through all levels of the community and health professions. The concept of CORE as a complete national education framework reinforces the idea that every New Zealander has an important role in helping those suffering life threatening illness and injury”.

Dr Richard Aickin of the Paediatric Society also supports the introduction of the new courses which “have a strong focus on what actually works in resuscitation and education. A high standard of training in the community is imperative if we are to have better survival rates for major illness and injury, especially for children.”

Professor Michael Ardagh of the Christchurch Department of Emergency Medicine noted that. “The work of the NZRC has been a particularly valuable contribution to the recent history of resuscitation in New Zealand. Our research indicates that the introduction of the NZRC CORE educational material into hospitals has improved the life saving knowledge of junior doctors”.

Wellington general practitioner Dr Alana Wilson also welcomes the new CORE courses. “They are designed to provide the lay rescuer with the skills and knowledge to act immediately should an emergency arise.” She believes that “one person in every household should be trained in emergency care. This would make things a whole lot easier for GP’s”.

In addition to the basic CORE series, specialist extension courses are currently being developed as add-ons to cater for specific emergency care environments. It would also be feasible for a group of lay rescuers with specialist needs to develop similar extensions to CORE at the lay rescuer levels.

The new CORE 3 courses are currently being piloted by New Zealand Red Cross, one of New Zealand’s largest providers of emergency care education. Pip Mason said the feedback so far has been exceptionally good, reflecting both the course content and the quality of the instructors involved.


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