Having completed my First Aid qualification last year I was keen to put it to use. With Brownie Pack Holiday coming up it seemed a suitable opportunity to make use of it. As there were several other trained first aiders there I was quite comfortable in the responsibility as there was always someone else to fall back on just in case. Even so the night before I was sat up far too late reading through my notes and handouts from both the first aid course and my training as a healthcare assistant!
On the Friday night we had twenty minutes of calm and then the yellow things descended! From that moment to the moment we left it was carefully regulated chaos. As first aider I was gathering health forms from parents and hoping fervently that none would have a serious medical condition (yeah right). Naturally there was and so I spent a good forty minutes going through the details of medication and symptoms with parents to make sure I would know exactly what to do if the worst happened – it didn’t.
Over the weekend there were numerous minor injuries: bumps, scratches, splinters and stings. I was confident in dealing with these because in reality all that is needed is a bit of distraction, a sweetie and hug! The Brownies were then almost always more than happy to run back to their activities. I wasn’t so lucky. Sunday morning I barely made it six steps outside the building before another one came limping up, sniffling and I had to turn around and start the whole process again…
As we are a very young pack I was fully expecting to have quite a few who were homesick. It reminded me of the need to look out for the signs that something’s not quite right when dealing with young children as often tears can be prevented if intercepted early enough. As first aider it is, I feel, important to remember the role isn’t solely to deal with physical problems. The reality is that with this age group it is more emotional support that is needed. A first aider must be able to dispense hugs and sympathy ( and my special – read fruit pastilles – medicine) before bandages and plasters on pack holiday!
So what will I do differently next time?
- I don’t want to share the role again. It is undeniably intimidating to have to try and first aid with someone far more experienced constantly watching over you, even if you are confident in what you are doing. Equally there’s the problem of who’s doing what and when, as well as differing beliefs of how to approach certain situations.
- Rather than be bombarded with information about various conditions once we’re there I want to be able to have a quick chat with parents the week before just to get a quick idea of who I’m going to be giving medication to and when at least.
- Following on from that I will be making a list of times, medicines, dosages and Brownies so I’ve a very quick reference point to minimise fuss.
- Personal reminder: if the first aid room is cold, turn the heater on – don’t sit with a crying Brownie at gone one in the morning in the freezing cold because it doesn’t help!