First aid and basic life support skills training early in the medical curriculum: curriculum issues, outcomes, and confidence of students

Teach Learn Med. 2001 Fall;13(4):240-6. doi: 10.1207/S15328015TLM1304_05.


Background: The importance of training physicians and other health care professionals in first aid and basic life support (BLS) is now widely recognized. The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the United Arab Emirates University have been offering formal training in these skills to 1st-year medical students since 1989. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of the program and the extent to which it provides students with confidence to perform skills on their own after training.

Description: 165 of 180 male and female students comprising 3 cohorts (91.7% response rate) completed a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. The questionnaire contained open- ended and Likert-type questions regarding course organization, content, strengths and weaknesses, teaching--learning approaches, and skills development and confidence. The authors analyzed assessment outcomes and associations between self-perceived levels of confidence and ability to practice.

Evaluation: Students were uniformly enthusiastic and highly motivated by the program. Self-assessed confidence in ability to perform skills on their own after completing the program was moderately correlated with perceived frequency of opportunity to practice many skills. There was nevertheless a consistent desire for more practice time.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the program provides students with sound basic knowledge and adequate practical skills in first aid and BLS and that adequacy of time and physical and human resources are important prerequisites to facilitate practice and engender confidence in skills.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Female
  • First Aid*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Arab Emirates